if you can’t see the fingerprints of context in your college ministry…

If a college minister can’t point to ways his or her context (the particular campus) has influenced the design of their college ministry, there are likely a few possibilities.

  1. That college minister is really new to their post.
  2. They haven’t gotten to know their context.
  3. They haven’t gotten to know other college ministry contexts, so they don’t realize their ministry has become unique.

To the first group, I’d encourage: I hope you haven’t started putting too much in place. I’m not a fan of planting a model before you know the field, just as farmers would tell us that field-knowledge comes before crop-planting. It’s far harder (and ruder) to plant a “successful model” and then try, over time, to tweak it back toward context.

To the second group, I’d exhort: You probably think you know your campus. So you probably don’t even think you’re in this group. But if you can’t identify pretty significant differences between your approach/methods/whatever and other college ministries in your organization/circles, then you’ve got work to do. Doesn’t mean you’re not bearing fruit or seeing God do awesome things. He does great things. But knowing who you’re trying to impact is part of caring about who you’re trying to impact (any parent can tell you that), and every campus (like every child) is too different to be treated the same as the next.

To the third group, I’d push: You may not realize you’re in this group, but I applaud you for creating a ministry, under the Lord, to fit a specific audience. But you will learn a lot by learning other college ministry contexts, even if they often make you simply realize that what you’ve chosen is good.

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