the future in college ministry: getting ready for the shift change

Today’s pursuit is less an effectiveness-increaser, and more a matter of retaining what collegiate ministries have built.

Will we be ready for the generation behind the Millennials?

I’m not sure if we’d say that college ministries were nearly as “ahead of the curve” on reaching the Millennial Generation as we could have been (though we probably were still leading the way in general Christian ministry). I’m still surprised that collegiate ministry now often looks similar to the format and “programming” of the 1990s; I might have hoped the field would have moved more dramatically. And the wave of a new generation – especially since college ministries only deal with a very narrow segment at any one time – naturally forces us to change. So that’s not a bad thing.

But now, the question for upcoming years is not only whether we’ll continue to make that progress with Millennials, but whether our field and its individual ministries will be finely tuned and strategic in reaching the next generation, whatever it looks like and whenever it arrives. Get this: Some claim that generation will be entering college in the next two years, claiming the earliest of that generation was born in 1995. Others date the beginnings more at mid-2000s, which gives us eight years or so until they reach college. (You might check out the Wikipedia article – it’s pretty interesting to read the proposed names for that generation, among other things.)

Obviously, generational shifting doesn’t happen overnight. And who knows? It may not be imperative that collegiate work look dramatically different to reach it. But my hope here is that we – those who invest, in one way or another, in college ministry – will be absolute experts on that generation as it rises to our mission field.

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