Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Simple College Freshman Guide to Good Grades"

Wouldn't it be great if there were one simple and easy way to make or improve fres
Hman year grades. There is.

The simplest thing a freshman can do to make good grades.....go to class! Through the years almost all freshmen who have come to me with grade problems were skipping classes. Many professors will totally lay it out in front of the student, if they are there. One professor friend did a study of all the freshmen in the Biology classes. Grades were almost exactly tied to the number of cuts.

Some professors have told me that if a student has a borderline grade....particularly the D and F borderline, they take into consideration whether they have been there all the time. A Math Professor told me that he will always bump them up a few points to get over the hump if......they have been there. He said the number of absences tells him, if they care or not.

There is a secret for better grades for freshmen....go to class....even at 8:00 a.m.

Monday, July 30, 2012

"How to Make it in College: 6 Tips for College Freshmen"

1. It's ok to change your major or not have one.
-Freshmen year is meant to be a time of adjusting and learning about yourself.
-On average college students change majors 3 to 4 times.
-Don't let the pressure of not having a major rush you into a wrong decision.
-It is best to take basics at the start.

2. Your first 3 weeks set the pattern.
-What you do the first 3 weeks often set the pattern for your whole college life.
-Get into a regular pattern of classes, study, recreation and rest. Balance
is important.
-College infirmaries are packed at the 6 week mark with those who have not eaten
and rested right.
-Many fall behind during the first couple of weeks by not taking it seriously
and never recover class wise.
-Going to class is the easiest thing you can do to pass a class. The more you cut, the more likely you are to fail the class.

3. Choose friends by your priorities...not your priorities by your new friends.
-Everyone wants and needs new friends.
-In the rush to make friends freshmen often get with the first people they meet
and without thought begin to engage in whatever activities the new friends do.
-Decide what is important to you (grades, faith, etc) and find/choose friends
that share those priorities.

4. Emotionally go to college.
-Many freshmen do not have a good experience because they are not there
-Don't just hang around your old high school or plan your schedule around it.
-There is more to being a college student than taking classes. Decide to be
apart of it.

5. Become part of a group.
-Studies and surveys indicate the happiest and most successful students are part
Of a campus group that shares their goals and priorities.
-If you are a Christian, find and connect to a Christian group on your campus
at the start....don't wait. They will help you get started right.
-On more than 800 campuses there is a Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM, BSM, BSU) that
wants to help you have the best possible college experience. And, it's not just for Baptists.

6. If joining a fraternity or sorority is a possibility for you, consider holding off a semester, waiting for open bids or joining next year.
-This gives time to get adjusted to college.
-It allows you to have greater awareness of which groups you might best fit.
-Ask an upperclassman who is Greek why they joined and why it is a plus for them.
-Ask an upperclassman who is not Greek why they are not.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"5 Ideas for College Freshmen Who Will be Commuters"

There are some pluses to being a commuter college student....especially if it involves a free room at home. There are two types of commuter, the one who lives at home and the one who lives in an apartment away from campus. The number one problem that both can face is becoming or feeling isolated from campus and college life. The reason national studies show that dorm students tend to make better grades has nothing to do with the dorm itself. It is about feeling connected and functioning as a college student. It is easier for a dorm student to go to the library or a study group. The commuter must make some intentional decisions that promote "feeling and acting like a college student.

1. Be intentional about meeting some people and making some new friends that share the same priorities and commitments. Don't just hang out with some old high school friends.

2. If a student is living at home, it is important to remember that college life functions on a different schedule. There are programs, religious activities and intramurals that take place from dinner time to late at night. Don't let supper time at home prevent college life and experiences from happening.

3. Whether a commuter lives at home or in an apartment or at home, eating some meals on campus is a plus and can promote new friendships and more college connection. Some buy a meal ticket and many campuses have a plan where an amount of money can be deposited and used whenever in the different campus eating facilities. Besides lots of apartment students don't eat so well when they do all their own food!

4. Make plans to attend the Back-To-School or Fall Reetreat of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry or one of the local college churches. It offers great new friends, adult mentors, spiritual challenge and a ton of fun. Even if a student works on weekends, asking off now could make the difference.

5. The first 3 weeks of college often sets the pattern of the rest of a student's college career. Don't believe those that say don't worry about going to class or anything that first week. Many have derailed their college career at the very beginning.

Monday, July 23, 2012

"10 Things Parents of a College Freshman Need to Know"

1. College is usually harder than high school and your son or daughter may study as hard or harder, but not make as good of grades as high school.

2. The friends and habits a student develops during the first 3 weeks often determine their WHOLE college career. Make sure they understand the importance of starting right with a clear set of priorities and doing the first three weeks the way they plan to do college. As a a part of that, if they do not connect to a Christian campus ministry or church during the first month, they likely will not.

3. 7 out of 10 high school seniors active in church have no spiritual connections while in college. If this is priority in your family, discuss how to make it a part of the first 3 weeks.

4. Parents cannot see or receive their son or daughter's grades without a special signed form you can get from the Registrar's Office. This is part of federal privacy laws.

5. Students who live in dorms tend to make better grades national studies show.
-Its all about being connected to college life and feeling like a student.

6. Students who are active in campus organizations are more likely to stay in school and graduate.
-Again, it is about being connected and feeling connected.

7. National studies show students tend to marry someone they date! Really!!

8. You should know where your son or daughter lives at school and how to contact them there....or how someone else could contact them (dorm or apartment and room number...not just cell).

9. The average is for students to change their major 3 to 4 times (that is why it is best to take required basics the first semester or two).

10. Psychologists say the two greatest times of change in a person's life are birth to age one and high school graduation to Christmas. That is why it is so important to stay connected.

Friday, July 20, 2012

"Church and Campus Ministries working Together"

Gus Hernandez JR has an excellent article on church and campus ministries working together. One practical element to this that many seem to miss is that a strong campus ministry benefits the church even more.

Some churches cooperate in providing some money and being supportive in a visual way by attending events. But, they schedule similar events to the campus ministry or tie students up so much they must choose one or the other. If a church is partnering with the campus ministry, they need to ask, "How does this event or emphasis affect the campus ministry?". Many are cooperative but then do things that harm the campus ministry....cooperation means considering how my actions help, hurt or affect the other. The campus ministry also must ask that question. But, each church must also realize that campus ministries are trying to benefit more than just one church! That makes their decisions tougher.

The stronger a campus ministry is...the more it can help a cooperating church.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"What Do You Want to Teach Your Students?"

Do you have an intentional list of things you want to teach your students?

Roger and Rose Bear at Indiana State want to teach students God's heart for the poor. With permission, I want to quote a story from their newsletter (named Please Feed the Bears)... "We've always led our students to give to hunger relief. We tell them that giving for missions and for hunger relief is not a matter of whether or not they can, but of whether or not they will. We do a worksheet to help them see how much they spend in a year on 'recreational eating' and entertainment. We give them a handout full of suggestions on how to earn money. And then I say, 'At the very least, you can promise God that you will give all they money you find in the next year...under couch cushions, on the sidewalk, in the pocket of your jacket, etc."

"The first year I started keeping track of found money, I had over $24. Then this year during finals week I was walking past Lincoln Quad and saw some trash bags that were thin enough to see perfectly good food inside (packages of ramen noodles, boxes of pop tarts, etc.). I took the bags back to the BCM and found ...trash...and lots of good packaged food....and a 2011 planner with a hundred dollar bill inside!!! Do I have any trouble believing that the disciples pulled a coin out of the mouth of a fish? Not a bit--I pulled a hundred dollars out of the trash from Lincoln Quad! So when I send in our hunger offering to Baptist Global Response this month, it will be a hundred dollars more. God enables us to do what He commands us to do."

Great story. What are some things you want to intentionally teach your students about this fall? Make a list...check it twice. Is it hunger, God's heart for the nations, sexual purity, personal discipline, godly relationships, God's call to vocational ministry???

Roger and Rose Bear are some of those who raise their own salaries to represent the Lord and Southern Baptists to the campus where God has called them.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"More Thoughts on the Rainmaker College Minister"

The generally accepted definition of a Rainmaker College Minister is someone who instantly has a huge response to their ministry wherever they go. The generally accepted view is this person is a gifted speaker with a lot of personal charisma.

In thinking about all the great/successful college ministers I know, I would only describe one as a rainmaker. He has served on 3 campuses as BCM Director. One was a small regional 4 year school and the other two have been nationally known major university campuses. At each place the ministry almost instantly boomed.

Here's the kicker.....he is not a speaker, does not dress cool and has never had gel in his hair! What he does do is work exceptionally hard. He is always looking for new ways to improve his ministry and he is continually asking students to do things and giving them opportunities to serve. He is humble and at the drop of a hat will tell other campus ministers all his "secrets". Some think he is brash, but rather it just is a desire to serve as best he can and he really does not care how he appears to others.

Is he the exception to what a Rainmsker looks like or do we have the wrong picture of how God makes/creates and uses Rainmakers for college ministry?

Monday, July 16, 2012

"Re-visiting the 6 Types of College Ministers"

As the start of the fall semester begins to be a looming presence, it might be time to think again about which type of college minister you naturally are. Or, what type you saw your college minister be....and so, that is what you have tried to be.

1. The Rainmaker - instantly draws a crowd, either by speaking skills/personality or by presenting a large, challenging vision.

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

3. The Cool Dude or Best Friend - tends to be very trendy and operates with lots of buddy relationships and hanging out.

4. The Administrator - operates thru organization and key student leaders.

5. The Counselor - spends a large amount of time in one to one developmental or crisis counseling relationships. Often, he/she is a magnet to troubled students.

6. The Hybrid - intentionally works at combining his/her natural style with one of the others to meet a specific need or an attempt at greater ministry balance.

Now, before the school year begins, which are you? And is it time to move to being a hybrid? Which one of these styles needs to become more a part of who you are to strengthen your ministry? Continue to play to your strength, but add another dimension.

Or, it might be to admit that you have been trying to be one of these styles and it is not who you are. Maybe, you are trying to copy your mentor or to be another version of whatever the cool ministry is on campus. Maybe, it is time to admit which style is honestly who you are and let God use your uniqueness.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"5 July Do's for College Ministers"

1. Make a list of upper-class students who disappeared from your ministry following
Spring Break and make a positive contact with them.

2. Lay out all the scripture and topics for your large group speaking for the fall

3. Send out a feedback sheet to 10 students.
Pick 5 students very connected to you and your ministry and pick 5 who come, but
arenot core and may not be fans of you personally. Put just 3 to 5 questions
And a return envelope. Ask what were strengths of the ministry. What were
Weaknesses and what are some new or different things that need doing. Make
sure they know it is anonymous and send a stamped return envelope.

4. Enlist a Prayer Team to pray for the first 3 weeks of school. Send them a weekly
request each week till school starts.

5. Double check your Leadership Team.
Send them reminders about their commitments, responsibilities, and required dates
for training, ministry, etc. Make sure they are still in and ready to serve. If
not, you have time to make alternate plans.

Monday, July 9, 2012

"Changes in College Ministry and Drinking the Cool-Ade"

It is no secret this is a time of change and flux in college ministry. A dear friend who formerly worked in campus based college ministry and is now pointed toward church planting, told other friends, "Campus based ministry is a thing of the past". Those he told that to said, "He drank the cool-Ade".

Simply put, they are referring to the idea being advanced by some now that the ONLY way to go is planting a church on college campuses. First, some facts to consider, there are 819 campus based Southern Baptist College ministries where 358,000 students attended this last year. There are 45 Southern Baptist campus church plants. I know of no figures on how many students attended.

Some situations call for a collegiate church plant and others call for campus based ministry. This past fall I was privileged to visit with one of the very successful pastors of a college church plant. They have 600 students total in their two Sunday services. Some have pointed to this as an example of "college church plants are the better way to go.". In visiting with me, he told of his 8 or 9 full time staff members. I don't know of a single campus based Southern Baptist ministry that would have that many staff members. There are a few that have 4 or 5...while most have one. We aren't comparing apples to apples.

Simply put, let's don't be arguing that a ministry that is on 819 campuses needs to be shut down because we have seen a few places that something else is really working well. To make that argument, you have to drink the Cool-Ade!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

358,517 College Students!!

358,517 college students attended campus Batista Collegiate Ministry events this year.

69,535 were actively involved (leadership, weekly attendance, etc)

819 campuses had a Baptist Collegiate Ministry.

430 people served as full-time Baptist Collegiate Ministry leaders.

258 served as part-time Baptist Collegiate Ministry leaders.

269 churches report they have a full time college minister.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

"Campus Minister Code of Ethics"

It has been with interest I have read the new "Pastor's Code of Ethics" just signed and promoted by some prominent pastors such as Rick Warren. It reminded me of some conversations in college ministry where we discussed an individual or ministry that we felt was acting unethically.

Yet, in my 40 plus years in college ministry, I can remember no seminar, class or informative discussion of what was proper college ministry ethics. It occurred to me that usually when someone in college ministry was accused of unethical behavior, it was someone young and inexperienced. How were they to know what was considered ethical behavior other than instinct? Here is my first thought at a code of ethics in campus ministry. I welcome and invite other thoughts, suggestions and corrections.

As A Campus Minister, I Will Strive:

1. To serve for God's best for each student and not how they may best serve my ministry or promote my ministry goals.

2. To strive for balance and care for my spouse and children while doing ministry.

3. To be fair and honest in dealing with other campus ministries.

4. To not sell or advocate the sale of products to students for my personal gain.

5. To avoid the reality and appearance of inappropriate male/female relationships.

6. To operate at the highest standards of accountability and openess in terms of finances provided to the ministry.

Arliss Dickerson
Lifeway Collegiate Ministry Contract Worker