making room for R&D

Who’s the “engine” of your college ministry for thinking about ways to advance your mission into new territory? I don’t mean continuing the present mission in all its effectiveness, or even tweaking things so that even more fruit is gained (although both of those are important pursuits). Today I’m asking if someone in your campus ministry gets to spend significant time thinking about new areas of fruit-bearing altogether.

In many college ministries, this task would fall to the college minister. And that’s great… if he or she has been able to delegate a lot of other oversight to students, volunteers, or staff.

In some college ministries, there might be a staff member or two who are wired entrepreneurially. They might provide this engine… if, again, they have space in their schedules for entrepreneurship. If they’re mostly running the Large Group Meeting or have six discipleship appointments each week, then R&D will (and should) take a back seat. Or it might just stay in the trunk.

I hope that some ministries let students be an engine for R&D, even if staff members are also thinking about advancement too. For the right kind of student, a yearlong focus on “what could be” will be an incredible growing experience – both for them and for the ministry.

Whatever the case, the title of this post presents the crux: If student leaders, staff members, or the director don’t make room for R&D, then it will not happen. And room has to be made, not simply watched for and then grabbed when it comes along. There’s always more urgent tasks on the calendar, there are always ways to fulfill the ministry you’ve already undertaken, something can always be better. So if the collegiate ministry is going to move forward into new places and new ways, you probably shouldn’t just wait for the prime month of July (or a few weeks of Christmas break) to provide all your R&D-ing space each year.

Someone’s got to be making some room for it, starting today.

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