Saturday, June 23, 2012

"Most Common Misconception About College Ministry...Some Thoughts"

The most common mis-conception about college ministry I hear voiced have to be young to do it. Part of where this comes from, I think, is the idea that college ministry is all about hanging with students till all hours and playing video games. One person even expressed that a college ministry started down hill when the person in charge got married and couldn't stay out till all hours. In my years of hiring young Interns and Assistants one of my first instructions to them was that they would have to choose between being students'buddy and being respected by them. And, my warning was, don't ever settle for being their buddy! One person recently expressed this "you got to be young" idea to me and I responded that most of the really successful college ministers I know are over 50. Anyone any age can be a plus in ministry to college students. So, why can age be not just a detriment....but a plus? First, the experienced college minister brings a life perspective that only comes with having lived through some things. This is a huge factor in mentoring. You have already been there, did it and weren't too impressed with the tee shirt. Part of a good college ministry is helping students to learn to think like an adult and to learn to operate in an adult world. That works best when someone has already done it. Pretty much all the successful and particularly large college ministries have many adult volunteers investing in it. It takes some experience and maturity to realize this, recruit and invest in these volunteers. As I got older in college ministry, the more I realized students were trusting me more to talk about the deepest issues of their lives. I didn't as much know who kissed who last night....but I did know when they wanted to talk about what is commitment and what should I consider as we talk about the M word. More thoughts...but I promised only a few. Experience brings something that coolness by itself does not!

1 comment: