the easy forward-thinking assessment

One simple question to ask yourself:

Is the “content” of your activities based on strategy?

This may take a second to explain.

By “content,” I mean the actual action steps within an activity. For your small groups, the content would be the curricula (book, workbook, book of the Bible, etc.) students actually use. For a service project, the content is where students are serving. For Large Group meeting, content could include the topic covered in the message, the worship songs, a testimony, and whatever else you have. On a retreat, same thing: Content is what’s discussed (or done) on the retreat.

In other words, it’s the “guts.” And while the content of one activity may feel completely different from the content of another type of activity, they have this in common: The content plays a huge role in determining the impact of the activity.

So I return to the question: Are you making choices about content based on where your ministry is going (or where you hope it’ll go)? In other words, are your content choices forward-looking? Far too often, I fear, content is almost an afterthought – or we determine a method and then fill in content with what we think students will like the most.

But content matters. A lot.

So what does it mean for content to be forward-looking?

For instance: Let’s say God has impressed on you a need for your ministry to connect better with the campus as a whole.

  • Your small groups could all focus on a related topic – from evangelism to service to effective “neighboring.”
  • Your service project this semester could actually serve the campus in some way.
  • Your Large Group message topics could certainly build a biblical basis for this campus integration, and even the worship, testimonies, prayer time, and other elements could fit around this strategy.
  • Your Retreat could do anything from laying out a game plan for campus connection, to discussing the needs of the campus, to hearing from campus representatives, to choosing to have your “retreat” in-town so you can start loving on the campus.

I’m not saying that every element of our ministry should be marshaled around one theme. You likely have a few ways God has pointed you and your ministry forward. But the question stands: How much of your “content” is truly forward-looking, is truly based on strategically advancing in the direction(s) God has pointed you to?

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