Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"College Ministry Basics #5 & #6

5. Students must feel it is THEIR ministry to invest significantly of their time and energy in the ministry.

Do they feel what they say and do matters? Have they bought in or are they reluctantly just going along with you? The more students own it, the more they will invite their friends. You are still the captain of the ship, but a captain without a crew is in trouble.

6. Students must feel accepted and cared about individually in order to continue to attend.

A campus ministry can spend a pile of money on programs and enlistment, but if students develop no significant relationships, they likely will not continue their involvement. We must do all we can to develop small caring groups....both organized and informal.

Friday, September 21, 2012

College Ministry Basics # 3 & # 4

3. Students have to get their Felt Needs met to continue to come.

You may have a great vision of what God has called you to do...send mission teams to China, Haiti, etc. But, if students do not feel you are meeting some of their immediate needs, then forget it. Are you meeting their needs? Are you speaking to the issues with which they are wrestling now? Again, it involves listening, looking and learning about your campus.

4. What the campus as a whole thinks of your ministry will affect the response to your ministry.

In other words, what do you look like to the campus as a whole? What would the average student on your campus say about your ministry? What the campus thinks about your ministry may not be your fault, but you will benefit or suffer from it. What the administration thinks about your ministry will affect your opportunities and how much they are willing to work with you.....and what doors they open and CLOSE to you.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

10 Basics of College Ministry, #2

2. Each campus is unique and that must be factored into what is done there and how it is done.

Unfortunately, you cannot simply take the model of the best college ministry you know and drop it onto another campus. Each campus has it's own schedule of which nights work best, the type of students who attend there and the over-all culture. The Princeton Baptist Campus Minister says 2 Night retreats don't work well there cause students don't want to be away from their studies that long. Some campuses students treat Friday classes as optional.

Listen to your students. Study your campus. Try things and then tweak them. Your ministry must be tailor made for your campus!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

10 Basics of College Ministry #1, The College Minister

1. The character, actions, and style of the campus minister will greatly affect the type of students that are drawn to the ministry.

To some degree, for students to come to your ministry they must buy into you. For individuals and churches to support your ministry, they must buy into you. Everybody has a type student that responds to them best. How do you accentuate that and keep that from being a limiting factor?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Should Campus Ministries Participate in Homecoming Elections, Etc?"

Should campus ministries participate in campus activities such as running Homecoming Court nominees, etc? For several years, my answer was a quick no...absolutely no! That's not what we are here to do.

After some years of our leaders asking that we submit a nominee for the Homecomomg Court, I said, OK, but if we do, let's support them and work for it. They nominated one of our outstanding young women and began to work on her behalf. After a vote of the student body on a campus of 12,000 at that time, she was selected as one of the Homecoming Maids. She was the first representative of a religious group to be selected. I thought, ok end of story. The next week a woman from the Student Affairs office called to ask us to have a table at a pre-orientation session for outstanding scholars. We had never been invited before. She said," I did not realize until the Homecoming elections how large your campus ministry was.". It was the first of many doors that opened to us as a result of that. We continued to run candidates and often, but not always, had them selected. We were invited to have displays at recruiting events where the Greeks had only been invited before.

A very "non-spiritual activity" opened the door for greater ministry on the campus. It helped with alumni support as they would come to Homecoming and hear our representative announced at half time of the game.

A third benefit I believe was that students felt they did not have to join other organizations on campus to participate in fun Campus events like Homecoming. I realized that many solid Christian students were drawn away from their faith because of their desire to be active on campus.....they had done it in high school and wanted that to be part of their college career.

A negative result was that for some it damaged our relationship to Greek organizations because they now felt we were treading in their territory. Plus, we got many other invitations to participate in lots of other events that we had to make choices about and usually said no.

Should Campus Ministries participate in Homecoming elections, etc? I think it is a campus to campus decision, but one that should be considered...not automatically ignored. It might. E more spiritual than you think!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

"What's the Main Difference in Veteran Campus Ministers and Newer Ones?

Over the last year it has been my privilege to see lots of young and older campus ministers in action. Everywhere I have been and all the ministries I have seen are doing well. But, it is an obvious question to ask, what's the main difference in the newer, younger college ministers and the older longtime vets?

The simple answer is the little details. The older veterans tend tend to do the little details. It's the little things that make a difference over time, but are not immediately evident. The big things are obvious, but it is the little things that take time and experience to be aware of and see the value.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"What's THE ONE Thing for a Successful College Ministry?"

I was having lunch yesterday with a college minister from another church affiliation. The group included his intern and a supporter out of the church that is the main support of the ministry. The college minister is sharp and they have just built a beautiful new Center on the campus.

The key supporter asked, "What is the one most important thing to make a college ministry successful?". I think that is an easy is student leadership! Students that not only come, but own it as their own and model to younger students what it means to walk with Christ. They invite and bring friends. Nothing substitutes for strong student leadership.

One other interesting note from that friend from another denomination said, "It seems to me that a lot of Baptist church college ministries compete against their own campus ministry.". ,

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"My Most Read Blog?"

Since I blog primarily to people who do college ministry, I don't expect a huge following. After all, it is in the running for being the most demanding and lowest paying of all the different ministry callings. So, our numbers stay low and seem to be getting lower.

But, I wondered, what has been my most read guess was "20 Principles of College Ministry" or "Common Characteristics of Large College Ministries".....or, "Top 7 Reasons Students Attended the First Time".

Second most read blog was "Top 7 Reasons...". The most read by almost double was "10 Things the Parents of a College Freshman Should Know". way...why? Well one state-wide Baptist Collegiate Ministry did send a letter to freshman parents and listed a link, but who really thought they would go to it?

What does this mean? Parents are scared...parents want to help...we have helicopter parents, maybe. But, one thing it means parents want help and parents could be our best allies. College Ministers need to be connecting with parents. A summer outreach event could be doing parent seminars in churches. Steve Masters at LSU sends a parent questionnaire to freshmen parents....then contacts the student AFTER getting the parent questionaire back.

By the way, the best advocates I have seen for college ministry budgets are parents.

Monday, September 3, 2012

"What To Do Week Three"

You have just survived the first two weeks and may have had an event every night...your tongue is hanging out. It's easy to forget one thing that needs to be done this week.

Look back over your Info Cards, sign-in lists, or whatever way you got names of students who came to one of your first events such as Survival, first worship, welcome cookout, etc. Who has NOT been back? They came for some reason....the fact they have not been back may have nothing to do with their interest. They may have been overwhelmed with their choices or just stll figuring out what they can do or from a little church and your crowd scared them.

Make a list of the "one-timers" and make one more contact with them!,

"A Financial Tip for Young College Ministers"

When you are starting out in college ministry, you often aren't making much. You may have young children and retirement is not one of your thoughts and sure not priority in your thinking. So, you put little or maybe even nothing into your retirement fund.

Here's one financial principal to remember, the money you put in early on is that which is there longest and therefore earns the most. Even when you can't do something!

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, shares some stunning figures of how much more a retiree who put money into his retirement fund from 20 to 30 has at retirement over one who put in 30 to retirement.

Always be putting something into your retirement fund!