A big opportunity to deploy students into service is on my mind this morning. But I’ve written about it plenty. So here’s some stitching of past posts that may be inspiring to you, too.
We still need to be learning our campuses – and it should move us to action.
Do you have built-in methods to keep “your ear to the ground”? There’s no way we as non-students can know our “campus tribe” in the ways an insider can. So are we asking them? Do we have a sort of “council” of students, whether formal or informal, who keep us up to date on campus fads, focuses, and opportunities? Do we read the campus newspaper regularly? Do we spend LOTS of time on campus? When you’re there, do (re)learn your campus like a student – sitting in the student center, sure, but also attending classes and big events, sitting in on sports and seminars, chatting with students who pass by your seat rather than only students who come by your building?
When you started, you knew there was a bunch you didn’t know. Don’t lose that assumption.
Then, you’ve got to leave room (mentally, verbally, even structurally) for addressing new opportunities that arise, even after the year starts.
Opportunity may come very subtly: An article in the school newspaper. A campus rule change that seems small but creates an opportunity. An incoming freshman class that is particularly… smart or rowdy or secular or interested in spiritual things. A “theme” God seems to be stirring on campus that would be easy to miss if you weren’t looking for it. And hard to respond to, if you didn’t have any wiggle room.
Or the opportunity may come very un-subtly: A tragedy. Surprising changes within another college ministry. New campus leaders that dramatically affect things. A scandal.
Necessity is the mother of invention; a more “ministerial” way to put that is that NEED leads to new ministry. So that’s where a lot of this can start: Getting our students, our leaders, or ourselves out into the campus, discovering where the biggest needs are.
When’s the last time you – or better yet, a team of students – examined the biggest needs on campus? Is someone meeting with administration, faculty, and staff to discover how you can be awesome members of the campus community? Surveying students (or at least student organizations), reading the newspaper? Does the campus know you’re here to serve it?
While this may be Missions 101, it’s not always something we’re trained to do in college ministry. But it’s vital.
Watch then go. No comma in that exhortation, because it can move just that quickly.