Remember, there is no perfect season. There are strengths and weaknesses to all four. The point is to be honest about your season and play to it's strengths. All of us have seen College Ministers who are pretending to be younger than they are or those who have gotten out of College Ministry because they can't do it like they did when they started out. As one who has done College Ministry into near senility, I can tell you I believe wholeheartedly that it is a calling of the Lord that you can serve your whole career. Today's college student really does want to learn from older adults.
The Statesman or Builder is an experienced veteran who has done it long term. This is a time of sharing wisdom with students from a loving perspective, building for successors and being a prophetic voice for College Ministry.
Strengths of the Statesman/Builder:
1. You can fill a loving parental void in many student's lives. They can see you as they would their dad or mom and trust you on weighty matters.
2. As a result of having respect and peer relationships with upper school administration or senior pastors, you can weild greater influence.
3. You have a large and often national network of relationships on which to draw for ideas, resources, opportunities and support.
Weaknesses of the Statesman/Builder:
1. It is easy to "preach at" students.
2. It is tempting to focus on administrative tasks and relationships with pastors and administrators to the point of losing your student relationships.
3. It is possible to develop bitterness toward denominational or ministry organization politics or lack of career advancement and let it color negatively what you say and do.
Tasks of the Statesman/Builder:
1. Strengthen the structure of the ministry with your experience and insight.
2. Build the ministry support base and expand the financial support through your
relationships and earned trust. Some even are able to build a new or expanded ministry center at this point.
3. Lay the groundwork and build for successors that will come some day. Plan and work to give them something much better than you were handed when you came.
4. Give priority to speaking into students lives. Keep listening to them and learning where they are.
5. Use your wisdom and experience to be a spokesman for College Ministry.
6. Mentor younger College Ministers.
Obviously, it is hard to draw strict and fast lines between each season. But, here is a hint, you probably have changed seasons two or three years before you admit it. Play to your strengths. Let your age and experience work for you! College Ministry is not just for the young...students have lots of buddies...you can be much more.
A wise veteran had built a large ministry and was trying to decide if it was time to leave. He said, "I am trying to decide if it is the end of a book or simply time to start a new chapter". Seasons are chapters that College Ministers often mistake for the end of a book. Unfortunately, many leave College Ministry about the time they know enough to do it.