In the process of developing my recent “Secret Shopping the Sites” series, I ran across a few elements worth highlighting. (These aren’t sites I ended up examining in that series, but I took note of these great elements.) Today’s elements tie in directly to how you develop your social media; tomorrow’s continuation will offer two more that are a little more involved but could be very profitable.

1. Pointers for Parents. One element that does simply mean putting something on your site(s) is the introduction for parents. There’s a pretty great one at Texas Tech’s RUF page, complete with a few really exemplary inclusions:

  • It seems to capture the character of their ministry, instead of just “advertising”
  • It addresses significant questions that are likely to arise (like what they mean by “Reformed,” and – indirectly – helping parents understand this is an orthodox, mainstream ministry)
  • It answers the infamous “Will you contact my kid?” question
  • It highlights the presence of other Evangelical ministries on campus
  • It addresses the opportunity to help fund the ministry, but in a winsome way

This is certainly something that any kind of collegiate ministry can develop – not just campus-based ministries.

2. The Church Page. The InterVarsity chapter at University of Chicago offers a church listings page, wisely introduced as including the places you might find other IV students on weekends. Three points here:

  • It’s hard for a campus-based ministry to claim it’s “pro-church” without actually including church as part of it’s discipleship (and church lists are one very easy way to do that)
  • Even if regular students don’t always pay attention to a college ministry’s web site, incoming students – the ones who need to start looking for churches even before they show up in town – are likely to
  • Of course, there are a couple of branches for whom this might not apply: church-based college ministry, and collegiate churches. But in those cases, hopefully there’s some thought about the inverse: Helping your students locate valuable on-campus ministries, especially if your ministry isn’t able to provide the entire “scope” of missional discipleship for your students.

Look for more tomorrow!