Last week at the conference I attended, I ran into a handful of college ministers from different contexts – a Bible church guy, an RUF guy, an Independent Christian Churches guy, and a CCO guy. And it was great to be able to talk to them about their ministries, and know something about their organizations’ approaches and distinctives.
You should be able to do that, too.
Maybe not all of those efforts, but the ones that are represented on your campus. (In fact, I’d be surprised if too many campuses have that exact mix. Although now I’m intrigued by the personal scavenger hunt this beckons me to.)
But I know that in the midst of college ministry, there are numerous occasions you should know something about the other “mission outposts” on your campus. And I mean knowing something beyond what you know about the college ministers themselves, or how big the ministry is, or what kinds of students attend it.
When do you need to be familiar with another ministry (and the organization behind it)?
- When a student is weighing which ministry they should join (so every August, basically)
- When students go from your ministry to another (or from another into yours)
- When you’re connecting with those ministers relationally
- When you’re weighing new opportunities on your campus, or various ways to reach your campus, or any sort of effort that might lead to cooperation
More than anything, though, I find myself simply wanting to write that “we should know because we should know.” It seems fairly self-evident that anytime we’re engaged in ministry – but especially in something as radical and “lonely” and comprehensive as collegiate ministry – we should have a working understanding of the other missionary endeavors working within our selected tribe.
Shouldn’t we be fairly familiar with the denominations, campus ministry organizations, and individual churches that are represented on our campus? After all, our recruitment efforts should include conversations that end with, “You should also make sure to check out ______________ ministry, too.” And that moment is coming just two months from now (or even this summer).
So summer is a great time to research those ministries a little, of course. (And one great place to start is my “Profiles of Groups and People” category.) Have fun. I bet you learn some stuff you didn’t know.