We did a survey of all the students serving on our Ministry Teams. We listed 17 different events and ministries that our campus based ministry offered (weekly events, special events, etc) and asked them to rank them 1 to 17 in how they saw them in their value and importance. The overwhelming number 1 was our individual meetings with students. Some years ago, several people asked why so many students active in our ministry went into full time vocational ministry. My answer for a while was, "I don't know...it's just a God thing".
I will still stick with at least the second part of that answer. But, as I thought through it, I came to believe is was our one on one regular meetings with our individual student leaders that was a significant factor. Not that we pushed students that way. But, I believe God is calling many college students to vocational ministry who either never hear the call or don't know how to process and work through it. That happens in those regular one to one meetings.
How We Did It/Not Perfect/Not the ONLY Way:
1. Each student leader was asked to list three different times during the week they could meet for an hour.
For the students I was meeting with, I worked out a schedule that best consolidated those meetings into block periods. I learned the hard way that if you just schedule them here and there, it keeps you from having block time to be out on campus, prepare, etc. I also told students if there were any days I did not do meetings (usually Wednesday which was our outreach Lunch Program day where prep started early and follow up, clean up lasted all afternoon and oh yeah, breathing).
2. At our first meeting I told them we would meet for one hour each week. The first half would be personal and the second half would relate to their responsibilities in leadership. Some who do one to one meetings have a set plan they work through with every student. For example, this week I will teach you about personal Bible study. I don't do that.We always met in a private place....usually my office. Student Center meetings get interrupted and don't lend themselves to being very personal.
3. First, we start with personal. Here are some questions I ask:
-What's going on in your life?
-Tell me about your family.
-What's your major and why?
-Do you date anyone regularly? Who? How long? Etc.
-What was your big main thing in high school?
-After becoming a Christian has there ever been a time you have gone away from the Lord?
I just really try to know them and encourage them. Obviously, we talk about the Lord and their questions,
struggles in the midst of all that.
-What are you doing personal Bible study devotional wise?
-What's going on at your church?
4. Then we talk about their leadership responsibilities.
-What is coming up in the next week or two you have to plan organize, etc?
-How do you need my help?
-What did your team do last week and how did it go?
-What can we learn from that success or failure? I believe it is especially important to help students learn from something that did not go well AND to understand it is often no one's fault or anything within their control.
-What do you need me to do?
5. We pray at the end. We usually take turns praying.
-What is something for you we need to pray about?
-Is there someone we need to pray for?
6. See you next week!
If for some reason, I could not be there for our weekly meeting, I tried to always let them know in advance. That told them it was important to me and that I respected their time.
It is not rocket science and this is not a perfect or magic formula. And it did not replace our weekly large group events or become the only thing we did. It is just one thing God used in a multi-faceted college ministry.
Coming Late Summer: The 10 Commandments of College Ministry....my new E-Book in the Kindle store.