Tonight I have the chance to talk to about 20 parachurch ministry organizations. They are preparing to participate in a ministry fair at our church. I’ll begin our conversation by noting my background in college ministry, where attention to “kingdom-minded competition” is needed at least once a year (and in reality takes place all year long).
My points are applicable to all of us, and here are some of the things I plan to say:
Bringing it: Nobody likes the word “competition” when we’re talking about ministries, and that’s fine. But whatever we call it, my point is that in our recruiting, we should BRING IT. Every time you have the opportunity to share your ministry with potential recruits, you should exert some major effort and present that with excellence. In other words, it should feel like you’re competing because of the level of attention you’re providing.
(Not to get too deep here, but in some sense you are fully competing against all the other stuff that can steal students’ attention. They should see the Christian ministries on campus as ALL great options, and hopefully better options than the variety of things of less import.)
In the middle of the metaphors: I’ve been struggling to come up for a good metaphor here… but I know what “Kingdom-minded Competition” isn’t.
It’s not like the car show at our local state fair, where everyone’s in the same building but wants you to look at and buy their car and only theirs. But – and this is what we sometimes think unity has to look like – it’s also not supposed to be like the local Chevy dealership… where every car is nice and shiny but nobody cares too much about which one you pick. Our goal for recruitment should be somewhere in the middle, a real mutual desire for students to end up where God wants them, alongside a belief that we’ve got a fantastic ministry to offer them.
Reflecting your ministry: Part of “bringing it” should be that you present your ministry with not only your “best foot forward” but also in a way that reflects what your ministry offers. Honesty is vital!
Your recruitment tools (a booth, fliers, ads around campus, even word of mouth) should reflect your ministry – are students getting what they’re expecting to get, based on your recruitment?