What are some of your students’ favorite TV shows?

It’s not as innocuous a question as it sounds. Because ultimately, it shows whether you’ve got a finger on the pulse of the “everyday” lives of your students. I could have just as easily asked, “What’s trending on social media with your students?” or “Who do they plan to vote for in November?” Questions like these reveal just how much a college minister is familiar with his or her audience – not just with what they put on an info card in August, but with their ongoing lives.

I don’t know what keeping “your ear to the ground” means in your context. I don’t know what’s wisest, and I know the balance looks different as a ministry grows in size or complexity. In some cases, this responsibility might shift because the college ministry’s director is not the primary teacher, or the primary discipler, or whatever.

But it matters that someone – probably many people, including other staff and adult volunteers and student leaders – have their ear to the ground. You’d want to understand the “everyday life” of an individual you were discipling; in some way or another, you need a major dose of that understanding with the crowd, too.