I apologize for the spotty blogging this week – I’ve been sick with what appears to be bronchitis. Hooray! But it does lead me back to a post I’ve posted occasionally before – but it’s an extremely practical way to (1) provide an easy new position for a particular kind of student volunteer, (2) really, really care about people in your ministry (or beyond).

What if your college ministry developed a “care team” to encourage, minister to, and practically help students (or others) who are sidelined?

Especially this time of year, this would likely mean loving on sick students. But this could also work (and might be even more important for) those sidelined with other situations – family stuff, funerals, a service project or mission trip that cuts into school days, etc..

Before a team was developed, staff could be ready to handle this simple, awesome chance for service. But the more preparation you can do beforehand – assembling a student team, buying materials for Care Packages, writing up a few plans – the better you’ll serve students in tough (or tough-ish) times.

This is all a chance to serve your flock – whether it’s as simple as having a stash of Get Well Soon cards ready to send, or something extravagant like sending in the troops to hand-deliver flowers, notes from their friends, or a blanket and candy (or whatever a student’s mom says they might enjoy – yes, you should call their parents to get ideas, and their parents will likely really appreciate your gesture).

Bonus thought: While you probably don’t want to try to encompass all acquaintances-of-acquaintances in this ministry, using it for “Pastoral Care” to those your students are in relationship with (including teachers or other staffers) could be another great opportunity!

For those missing school: Unlike high school, missing a college class often matters, especially when a student hasn’t planned ahead for the missed day. Does a student need to borrow somebody’s notes from class? Do they need info on assignments they can be working on? Talking to their profs about why a student is out might help, too. So could “filling in” if they have some sort of commitment that really needs a fill-in.

Of course, the ability and mobility of campus ministers and their students vary – as does a ministry’s awareness of which students are hurting at any given time. In fact, this kind of ministry might actually be easier for a smaller group. But any group that generates community and networked-need-sharing could pull this off.

(In fact, if we can’t even imagine our students getting behind this kind of effort, we might not have developed much of a true “community” yet.)