Monday, March 26, 2012

The Biggest College Ministry Myth..."if we do our work, the funding will take care of itself."

Wow! I first wrote this myth 3 or 4 years ago and did not realize that
It would only become "truer".....we are currently seeing the most de-funding of campus ministry I have seen in my time in college ministry. Those who have lost their funding due to the strategy change at NAMB range from 30 to 50 depending on whose estimate is correct. These also are at nationally crucial campuses like Princeton and West Point. More US Presidents and Secretaries of State have graduated from Princeton than any other University. Obviously, West Point is turning out national leaders for the military and later in key civilian roles.

The drop in giving to local churches is affecting their decisions about what ministries they can support individually, such as local BCM budgets. Some State Conventions have cut BCM positions as the convention income has declined or as they have committed additional funds to the NAMB church planting strategy. There are no totals available for these cuts as no one wants to tout that they are cutting positions in a state convention.

No easy answer....but BCM alumni providing just a little individual support would go a long way. Each alum giving $100 a year would be huge. Speaking up in church budget planning would be huge, as well. Someone has said that college ministry is easier to cut because there are fewer complaints!

"The Myths of College Ministry" #1

Myth #1. I Have Found THE Way to do it On This Campus.

Campus situations continually change and your student leadership will change year to year in their abilities/gifts and reliability. Each year will call for some adjustment and tweaking. But, remember to continue to do the things that are the strength and heart of your ministry. Consistency is a huge plus in both your doing it well and students knowing what to expect.

Monday, March 19, 2012

"6 Types of College Minister - Which Are You?"

Although most of us in college ministry would like to think we are "The Personality Campus Minister" that instantly draws a huge crowd, we know it is not true. Yet, many of the personality ministries I have seen have not worn well over time. So, that is not necessarily the perfect answer to all college ministry.

So, let's get honest, which one are you? I think I am "The Hybrid".....I think I started out as "The Administrator" who tried to train and work thru a strong student organization with a good group of student leaders and advance planning. The model suggested then was that college ministers were never to be up front. The College Minister as speaker is a more recent fact, the message in the past was if you are up front, you are not doing your job very well.

As I aged in college ministry, I think in many students' eyes, I became something of a "Pastor" figure on campus. I was asked to do way more weddings, etc. I began to serve as a mentor to more younger college ministers and even church staffers and be considered a peer of pastors. I am a strong advocate of the idea that you don't age out of college ministry, you
just need to learn to play to the strength of the age you are.....and each age has strengths!

So, I began to embrace the Hybrid role of "Pastor/Administrator Campus Minister"....but still working very hard at relating personally to students and actually doing more speaking in our events and embracing that role as a strength.

Three factors can lead you to the Hybrid Campus Minister....Experience, Training or Age. Experience helps you see a side you need to develop for your ministry to continue to grow or strengthen. Training may have helped you see some things that work and need to be done that don't come naturally. Moving to a diffent stage of life may point you to an adjustment to help you to continue to be very effective.

I am not saying "The Hybrid" is the only way to do it well.....that's just where I wound up.
Now, which are you? Really??? Get honest with yourself....and I am excited to hear from you about which you think you are and why. The most important things is to recognize the strength of the type you are and utilize it to the max.....AND get honest with yourself about the weaknesses of your type and be doing something about it!

"6 Types of College Ministers - The Hybrid"

The Hybrid Campus Minister is the one who realizes through experience or good training, that he or she must add to his or her natural style in order to be more effective. For example, The Rainmaker may have natural speaking ability that draws a crow, but realizes unless he or she develops the organiation of The Administrator that the ministry will not develop the structure to maintain the initial crowd that is generated.

All of us bring a natural style to campus ministry. Sometimes, it is the result of our individual ability or the result of imitating the style of campus ministry of which we came through. But, then our specific ministry calls for something beyond what comes naturally to us. That is the point of real growth happening witin us. Unfortunately, some decide to limit their ministry to what comes naturally or easy to them.

Which style are you? Next post!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

"6 Types of Campus Ministers - The Counselor"

The Counselor is a Campus Minister who spends a large percentage of their time doing one to one individual counseling in both crisis and developmental situations. Often, this draws students from a variety of campus groups...not all of whom who are active in the on-going ministry. The strength of this style is giving real help to some struggling and hurting students.

The weakness of this style is the likelihood that this ministry will not involve a large number of students due to the significant amount of time that must be invested in many of these relationships. There is also the possibility that this ministry will become dominated by hurting students. The challenge is to maintain a ministry and involvement with a wide variety of students who can bring hurting students into a healthy group.

Friday, March 16, 2012

"6 Types of College Ministers - The Administrator"

The Administrator is the College Minister who works through student leaders, advanced planning with a strength in the area of organization. This is your picture of the behind the scenes person. Often, this Campus Ministr type is not a speaker personality type. The ministry involves a high investment and time in student leaders and the emphasis is putting them up front and helping them grow and be successful.

Often, this Campus Ministry style is not appreciated as it should be due to a lack of "face time". This style does not lend itself to quick growth, but tends to be very stable and even over the years. The strength of this style is stability and the real development of the student leaders that carries them through a lifetime of ministry and sevice. A weakness of this style is sometimes the difficulty of attracting students in the beginning and getting the ministry off the ground at the start. But, the students who go out of this ministry know how to serve and lead.

Monday, March 12, 2012

"6 Types of College Ministers - The Cool Dude or Best Friend"

The Cool Dude or Best Friend is defined as one being very trendy in speech and dress, often dresses like the students and is usually very tech savvy. This Campus Minister tends to operate as a buddy or best friend to students and can be a style demonstrated by either male or female Campus Ministers. The strength of this style is the ability to relate to students and particularly perhaps those turned off to faith. Another strength is the ability to build deeply into the life of a few due to the close personal relationships.

A weakness of this style is the possibility of students feeling like there is an inner circle and the rest are left out due to not being in the best buddy category. There is the feeling the Campus Minister plays favorites. Second is the danger that the Cool Dude or Best Friend builds the ministry entirely around their personality. When that Campus Minister is gone, the ministry often does not survive.

If this is the style you are gifted with, the challenge is to broaden the ministry past just those students with whom you are close. Plus, develop a structure that will leave an on-going ministry when you are gone or have "aged out" of the Cool Dude or Best Friend category. There is the mistaken assumption by some that you only do college ministry as long as you are cool.

Friday, March 9, 2012

"6 Types of College Ministers - The Pastor"

The Pastor is defined as one who usually operates as "Brother so - in- so" and is very ministerial in appearance and action. This Campus Minister has often served as a pastor and brings that style to campus ministry. The assumption for some is that this style will not be effective on a campus. But, particularly in the deep south this is exactly what many Christian students are looking for at college...a father, authoritative religious figure. This is someone who will help them continue in their faith while away from home.

Another strength of The Pastor Campus Minister is relationships with area churches and pastors. He deals with and relates to them as a trusted figure and peer. Often, this leads to excellent financial support that strengthens the ministry. An obvious issue to deal with is those students who perceive a pastor type as someone they cannot or do not want to relate to. The challenge is to demonstrate openness and availability to a wide variety of students.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

"6 Types of College Ministers - The Rainmaker"

The Rainmaker is defined as one whom wherever he or she serves, they almost instantly draw a crowd. The automatic assumption is that this is your personality type campus minister who simply draws off of personal charisma and/or big-time speaking ability. Yet, I have also seen this in campus ministers who are not "personality types." The "non-flashy" rainmaker usually does so by communicating a clear vision that the existing students immediately buy into and go extreme in reaching out to friends. Or, sometimes this type leader is able to organize a confederation of different ministries that join together under a new vision.

The pluses and minuses of this style are fairly obvious. If it is built strictly on personality, it usually does not last past the current campus minister or even only till the new wears off. But, an obvious strength is the ability to immediately draw increased financial support and to quicken the pace of developing a ministry that can last long term. An immediate challenge is to build a leadership and support network that will maintain the new larger crowd.

In today's worship culture the flash point may be a certain band or worship leader and the challenge is to build depth into the ministry that transcends "it's all about the band".

If you are blessed with the gift of being a Rainmaker, work at developing the structure that supports the crowd and find those that might help you in the organizational skills that Rainmakers sometimes lack.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"Six Types of College Ministers"

1. The Rainmaker - wherever they serve, they can almost instantly produce a crowd.

2. The Pastor - usually operates as "Brother so-in-so" and is very ministerial in appearance and action.

3. The Cool Dude or Dudette - latest hair do or shaved head, dresses like the students, very trendy in speech and technology/more buddy relationships.

4. The Administrator - operates thru organization, advance planning, works thru key student leaders.

5. The Counselor - spends large amounts of time in personal developmental or crisis counseling.

6. The Tightwire Walker - intentionally works at being a hybrid of two of the above.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Two Words I'm Hearing Most"

One word is from College Ministers and the other describes today's college and 20 something generation.

From College Ministers the word I am hearing is "stress" expressed different ways. There is the stress from those who have lost their funding and are raising their salaries now. But, they often express that they will experience a new freedom from unrealistic expectations placed on them after their funding is in place. The next group expressing stress are those who think their position will possibly be de-funded in the next year or two. The third stress expression is coming from college ministers in deep south states saying there is so much being asked of them now public relations or promotion wise to avoid a day of salary de-funding. The fourth stress being expressed is collegiate staffs are being cut, but the same level of work and productivity is expected from fewer people.

Describing students and other Twenty Somethings, the word is "Paradox".....from holding contradictory beliefs to being ready to change the world, but being self-absorbed....wanting close relationships, but using cell phones to just relate to a few.

No simple answers here...but pray for and encourage the College Ministers you know who may even be in a tougher spot than you are.....and keep talking and sharing with each other!