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!

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