As the primary shepherd of most of your college students for this revolutionary season of their lives, you determine in large part the methods by which these students will grow – not only during the college years, but in the months or years between college and the firm footing they will (hopefully) find as young adults.
What they learn from you about spiritual disciplines, about sharing their faith with others, about finding a church, about finding mentors… this will mostly (or at least largely) come from you and your ministry.
This is no small responsibility.
Certainly the argument that eases our burden a little bit – and it’s a correct argument – is that fundamentally students must take God personally. Hopefully, whether they completely delineate this or not, their primary engine for spiritual growth is their own very intimate walk with the Lord – a walk that is healthy enough to grow whether well-watered by outside ministries or not.
That’s certainly true. But isn’t one of the primary opportunities of college ministry to shepherd students into that particularly personal walk with God? Whether a Christian college student has known Christ for months or already for a decade and a half, this sort of internally motivated spiritual walk is a – and maybe THE – primary need… right?
If you need a quick assessment for your campus ministry, ask yourself whether your students are growing “on their own” – yes, taking advantage of your ministry offerings, but also finding their own developmental routes with the Lord, advancing in Him each semester beyond what your ministry’s watering could catalyze alone. (It’s a quick assessment to think about, though not a simple one to assess.)
Or simply find out now how well the graduates of last May and last December have grown in the interim.
Discipleship is likely a stated goal for your ministry. But how large a focus is discipleship towards self-discipleship?