Thursday, April 26, 2012

"The Second Most Listed Reason Why Students Went to a Christian Event"

46.8% of students said the second biggest factor in their attending a Christian collegiate event foe the first time was....."an appealing event". Females indicated they were more likely to attend because of an appealing invent than males. A huge reminder that reaching men and women is NOT done the same way. The first most listed factor was "someone invited me". The two fit together. At the beginning of the school year make sure you provide some attractive and appealing events that it is easy for your students to invite others to attend. These figures taken from a survey of 443 students attending Baptist Collegiate Ministries in 14 different states. The survey was done by Daniel Berry of the University of Kentucky and Brian Combs at Northern Kentucky University. The complete results of this very valuable survey will be shared at the National Collegiate Ministries Summit next week in Nashville as part of the "Reaching More Men" Idea Lab.

Friday, April 20, 2012

"7 Red Flags in a Dating Relationship"

A red flag is a warning...slow down, check this out; danger may be just ahead.

1. The two of you are all consumed in each other and all other relationships are ignored or neglected.

2. Major differences are ignored or not talked about, such as future goals, religious differences and life priorities.

3. There is a drastic change in the sense of responsibility one or both partners feel to other commitments and responsibilities (withdrawal).

4. The people who know you best and love you most disapprove of the relationship.

5. Conflict/disagreement is avoided at all cost (healthy relationships have and deal with disagreements).

6. One partner demonstrates a lack of respect for the other (excessive anger, belittling, physical abuse, sexual pressure).

7. Physical contact or sexual involvement becomes the central or main activity. (No relationship based solely on the physical is can't breathe hard all the time!)

I was speaking on a campus where a girl said, "My boyfriend and I have only 5 of the 7, so I guess we are ok.". No!! Any one of these can be a deal breaker and at the very least is a call for examination and honest evaluation of the relationship.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"So, Forget the Publicity?"

If 77% of students say they went to a BCM ministry the first time because of a personal invitation, why do publicity?

Publicity can be a factor in how they feel about the personal invitation they receive. Students who came for the first time often told me they had been wanting to come and had not because they did not know anyone who came....until they were invited. Wanting to come prior to the invitation is a big part in their coming as a result of the invitation.

But, even if you think personal invitations to your ministry are all you need.....realize you will need to train and encourage your students to invite others. For some reason, it does not come naturally. Students will often say about friends, it had never occurred to me to invite them. We don't know how many that are invited that don't, the discouragement factor by those doing the inviting also figures in....but, inviting people is huge!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"The Reason Students Came to BCM the First Time"

Daniel Berry, University of Kentucky and Brian Combs at Northern Kentucky University designed a survey that was completed by 443 students attending BCM in 14 different states.

With all we do to reach students, we always wonder what one thing matters the most. Why did they come the first time?

77% said they came because someone invited them! That doesn't mean other enlistments things don't matter....but, it is still the personal that makes the biggest difference.

Daniel and Brian will be sharing all the results of their study in the "Reaching Men" Idea Lab at the National Collegiate Ministries Summit in Nashville May 2-4.

Monday, April 16, 2012

"Another Thought on Campus Church Plants"

One concern about campus church plants is the issue of when you have a church made up of primarily college students, do they connect later in life to churches made up of people of all ages, etc?

In other words, does this kind of church help them love and commit to the church they will find in most places they go? In my view, and I think in at least the view of some youth ministry experts, separation of youth ministry from the church as a whole has been a huge mistake. Why do 4 out of 5 high school seniors who are active in church not have any spiritual connection in college?....cause they didn't join the church....they joined the youth group. Reports on youth ministry in Arkansas say more youth attend on Wednesday night than do on Sunday. I would guess that probably holds true most places.

So, where there is an option, is it wise to connect students to a church that is not "age-varied"? In Lifeway's study of 20-something's, one of the things expressed was a desire to be mentored by adults older and more experienced than they were. In visiting with a pastor friend who is very college ministry savvy, he said they would possibly start a Sunday college worship service since very few students from an adjacent campus were going anywhere to church. I told him I had great concerns about separating them from the variety of ages. He said, "Oh, I would never do it without enlisting a variety of age folks to be part of it."

Bottom line and we will not know the answer for 10 years or so, do college students who attend a church made up of college students connect to other churches in the years to come post-college?

"On Campus BCM Type Ministry or Campus Church Plant?"

There is a silly discussion in Baptist life about which is on campus BCM ministry or a campus church plant.

It is a silly question for two or three reasons. First, where there are already strong churches reaching out to the campus and there is a strong BCM ministry why do this duplication of ministry which can result in students being turned off by what they see as unhealthy competition. Plus, there are hundreds of campuses in America where there are no Christian ministries.....let's spend some of that money on those campuses.

Next, if campus church plants are going to replace BCM type ministries, then they will have to perform many of the same functions and from my limited view, they usually do not. A church on a campus is not automatically a specific ministry to college may just be a church that college students attend.

There are BCM type college ministers who are considering starting a campus related church because there are no Baptist churches close to campus or that have the interest or resources to reach out to students. I see the need. But, it also points to the issue that a campus church and a BCM type ministry perform different functions.

I was recently in a meeting with a very successful campus church plant pastor who has hundreds of students attending his church....obvious evidence a campus church plant is a better idea! But, then he told me he had SEVEN (7) full time staff members!!! I don't know of a single BCM type ministry that has 7 full time ministry staff. So, the comparison there breaks down.

One other troubling side to this is when a state or national entity takes money from local churches and uses it to plant a college church in their town where they are already doing college ministry. At the very least, there needs to be talks and consultation before using someone's money to do the very thing they are doing on the same campus.

Asking which is better, BCM type campus ministry or a campus church plant may be like asking, which is better...preaching or Bible study? Or, which is better chocolate ice cream or mint chocolate chip? A friend of mine who serves in a big deal position says, "Every difficult question has an obvious and easy answer.....that is usually wrong!"

Friday, April 6, 2012

"The 10 Commandments of Freshmen Ministry #7, #8, #9, #10"

7. Most decisions are made by freshmen in regard to how it will directly affect them.

8. Who does your Freshmen Ministry will significantly affect who responds and who does not.

9. Freshmen will either become like what they see modeled for them or turn away from what they see (see #8).

10. Freshmen respond best to that which offers them practical, specific college survival and life skills.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

"The 10 Commandments of Freshmen Ministry #5 and #6"

5. An aggressive outreach to Freshmen will be surprising in who responds and frustrating in those who do not remain involved.

6. Relationships usually determine where Freshmen go and don't go.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"The 10 Commandments of Freshmen Ministry #3 and #4"

A specific and intentional Freshmen has been called the secret to doubling the size of your ministry.

3. College freshmen are easier to reach than any other group and easier to lose than any other group.

4. Freshmen respond initially to large well done events, but are retained to a ministry by the individual and personal.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"The 10 Commandments of Freshmen Ministry 1 and 2"

I believe that a specialized ministry to freshmen is the number one way to grow your ministry and have the biggest impact on your campus.

1. Freshmen are more available to you the first three weeks of the fall than at any other point in their college career.

2. Freshmen must be met where they are emotionally and spiritually and loved while challenged to grow.

Monday, April 2, 2012

"The Myths of College Ministry: Everybody Just Wants What's Best for the Students"

All who have served in college ministry very long have been in a meeting to see this myth exploded in different ways. In a meeting of college ministers from different churches ministering to the same campus, the suggestion was made that we should each talk hard to our students about committing to one church and not jumping from church to church in one week. It quickly became apparent that some did not want to do this because it would have a negative effect on their attendance at one of their weekly events. Teaching churchmanship quickly went nowhere.

I stood in slack-jawed amazement one day to hear a fairly new church college minister exhorting a student who was very active in another church to "just come hear me preach once." All of us have people we need to please and ministries to keep going, but we need to always keep asking the question, "What is best for the long term growth and discipleship of the students?"

A student came to me once and described the type of summer ministry experience he was looking to be a part of. I knew of nothing that fit that description. The next day a casual friend who was a volunteer with a non-Southern Baptist ministry called. He had called about something on campus, but at the end of the conversation he described a summer ministry he was working with and described to the detail what the student the day before had said he was looking for. I said nothing, but later called the student and said, "I have heard about something, but it is not Southern Baptist.". He said that didn't matter in the least and he would follow up immediately. The next day a staff member from that student's church called to fuss at me about steering their student away from Southern Baptists. He also called my boss. I just thought I was trying to do what was best for the student......silly me!