With students leaving town and campuses often closed on some day or another, can campus ministries even celebrate Easter, or use Easter time strategically?
Of course they can.
Here are some thoughts from past posts about this week. If you’ve missed some opportunities this year, put them on the calendar for next year…
Easter and Christmas, THE two biggest “liturgies” among us Protestants, are both widely ignored in the context of college ministry. Students are often home at Easter and pretty much always home at Christmas. Students who happen to stay in town (or live locally) aren’t going to celebrate these holidays with us.
But that’s kind of a shame, isn’t it? Because not only should we help our Jesus-following students better comprehend and celebrate the magnitude of the Christmas and Easter stories, but the non-Christian and “de-churched” students around us might be more likely to reflect in these moments than any others.
So first, here are six straightforward ways to impact your students and/or your campus at Easter:
- Round up your students who stay local, and participate in something a local church (or other college ministry!) is doing (like a special worship service, a seminar, a family Easter event, etc.).
- Connect with a local church who could use some extra hands during Easter week, preparing or running their big service or other event. Recruit students to help.
- Before they go home, give students tips and exhortation about sharing Jesus with family over the long weekend.
- Encourage students with tips and exhortation about witnessing to friends around Easter week.
- Prepare to do something with your students after the Easter weekend to debrief about the weekend, or about opportunities students had during Easter week.
- Prepare to do something after Easter to impact your campus.
When it comes to those last two notes – stuff to do after Easter – here are a handful of great ways to carry that out:
1. Debrief . How often do we ask students to share the growth they gained away from our ministries? Yet some of your students probably did reflect on Easter, celebrate Easter, and grow in the context of Easter in awesome ways. Shouldn’t they share that with you, their college minister? Couldn’t they share that with the whole group? This also includes asking about their time with family or “back home friends,” and what that showed them about preparing for this summer.
2. Don’t let Easter season pass by ’til you’ve fulfilled your ministry. Sometimes we’re so interested in putting on a good “show” that we wouldn’t dare do something silly like talk about the Easter story after Easter! But if there’s something God wants you to teach about Easter… you need to do that. Even after Easter. (Your students won’t care that you’re reflecting on the Easter story after Easter; in fact, it might make it “stick” better.)
3. What are you going to do for Christmas? The seasons aren’t exactly the same in college ministry, but they have some similarities. Start pondering now.
4. Ponder what next year’s Easter will look like. It makes sense to consider your Easter and “Resurrection Week” activities for 2018 now. You don’t have to decide everything, but you should
- analyze how well this year’s activities (if you had some) accomplished your purposes
- contemplate what you might want to do next year (while you’re still “in the moment”)
- write down any worthy thoughts – and maybe set a reminder to make sure you look at ’em in 11 months.
By the way, Easter 2018 is much later – April 21st. Even closer to summer; even further from Spring Break. Not sure if those things matter, but they might.