Yesterday I wrote about the value of a basic “journey map” for college students. What’s the “path” that a student tends to experience as they hear about, join, and go deeper in your college ministry? What are the pain points along the way? Where is the journey smoothest?

But “customer experience” journey maps work best when we consider the journeys of various kinds of people. And that, I believe, is one of the more common failings among college ministries: neglecting various sheep who don’t follow the standard involvement path.

Journey mapping for those “other” kinds of students can radically increase leaders’ empathy. So you, your staff, and even your student leaders should contemplate the journey of students who might not fit the norm for your campus ministry.

How would these students hear about your ministry? What would they experience at their first event, and what would they understand or not understand? What next steps would they hear about? What next steps could they take immediately? What next steps would they be likely to take? How would they find a small group, a service opportunity, or a leadership opportunity? How might they find help, or recovery, or friends, or someone to disciple them, or someone to tell them about Jesus? How would they get help plugging in to a church?

Start with these, and then come up with your own!

  • A freshman who starts attending in February
  • A transfer student who comes right when all the new students do
  • Someone who’s never been exposed to Christianity at all
  • A student from China
  • Someone who was leading in a college ministry at their previous campus, or at their church
  • A graduate student
  • Anyone who starts attending now but will graduate in 2 years or less
  • A student who’s already very involved/leading in their local church’s ministry (if you’re a campus-based ministry), or who’s already very involved/leading in a ministry on campus (if you’re a church-based ministry)
  • A student who lives wherever most of your students don’t (with their parents, an apartment, fraternity house, etc.)