A College Minister always has more to do than can get done. I get that. But, I strongly believe a College Minister that is not working with alums is not doing his or her job.
Three Reasons College Ministers Need to work with Alums:
1. You have been a mentor to them during college days.
You can still be a positive influence or help in their lives. It may be at a distance or perhaps just at certain times in their lives. Sometimes your alums will be in leadership roles in their church and need outside resources or just good advice. You are a touchpoint for many who have made significant spiritual decisions during college years. Many College Ministers fuss about Youth Ministers who seem to wash their hands of youth after they graduate from high school. Aren't we doing the same thing if we do not stay connected to alums?
2. Alums can be a powerful voice for College Ministry.
All of us continue to be dismayed by the number of cuts being made in College Ministry. At the same time, we are inundated with articles expressing concern about the loss of Millenials to the church, we are seeing deep cuts in College Ministry. Sometimes, these cuts are made because there are hard financial decisions to be made and there is no one in key roles speaking up for College Ministry. Simply put, often cuts are made where leadership will get the least flak. If all the alums of College Ministries are aware and make their voices known, it can have a very positive effect in decisions that are made. Do your alums know of the positive things that continue to happen in your ministry? When someone says, "College Ministries are just not getting it done.", would your alums have information to respond? Their being aware of current happenings in your ministry is a plus and just being aware of the financial changes affecting ministry to college campuses is huge.
3. The financial gifts of alums are a huge factor in many ministries.
Most, if not all of the larger College Ministries I have close contact with, receive significant gifts from alums. One Southern Baptist College Minister told me that in their state they were not allowed to ask individuals for money and therefore, there was no need to work with alums. This goes to the idea that it might take away from cooperative giving through their church. I still point back to my numbers one and two. If you are not forbidden to ask alums for money and you don't have all the resources you need, you are making a huge mistake in not working
with those who have come through your ministry. They know and see the value. Many alums giving small amounts can make a huge difference. Or, one alum can write a check that changes the whole impact of your ministry. In recent years large and modern College Ministry Centers have been built with significant contributions from alums. Or, their influence within their church led to significant church involvement.
HOWEVER, you cannot and should not see your alums as a cash cow! This does not work and should not work.
My call is for you to continue partnership with them. Encourage their continual walk with the Lord and service in His church. This is one of those things you do as you go along and at times that students are away from campus. Darrell Cook, Virginia Tech, who is the prime example of mutual partnership with alums(see his article on this Blog), has a Reunion and Work Weekend where they meet on campus, work on the BCM Center (Remember, most of them are engineers.) and they have fellowship meals together. It is a time everyone looks forward to. He even sends a Virginia Tech BCM onesie to alums who have a baby.
Often, those of us who write articles and blogs use an overstated title to get your attention to get you to read our writings. Let me tell you what my title, "You Should be Fired if You Don't Work with Alumni" means.....you should be fired if you don't don't work with alums!! It's that important. You can continue to be a positive influence int their lives. And, the longer you serve in one ministry situation, the more your alumni influence and impact can grow. it is never too late to work on alumni connections. Hey, it's getting to be Homecoming time.