Thursday, March 14, 2013

College Administrators and College Ministers

One of my Top 10 Problems in College Ministry is a growing negativity on some college campuses of administrators being negative toward Christian organizations. On other campuses, it isn't just isn't anything.
In working with different College Ministers at workshops, etc. I have found there really has not been much thought put into how to relate to the administration. Here are my suggestions and yes, I have done all these things.

1. Make an appointment to go meet the VP of Student Affairs or whomever makes policy and decisions that might affect you and your ministry.

2. Let them know that you would be glad to be of help in any way that you can. Help them see that you are the best free employee they have (helping with student retention, Leadership training, crisis counseling, etc). Don't try to dump all this on them in one quick setting, but let them know you are there to be a benefit.

3. This is going to sound like your grandmother....but here goes....Dress up when you go. Dress like they dress at work! Often, College Ministers dress like students and particularly if you are young, their first impression of you will not be as an equal professional. Dress as though you were going to a job interview.....cause you are!

4. Attend University functions such as receptions, press conferences, coach announcements. These are sometimes sparsely attended, but those there are key University officials that you can visit with informally. Often, they are grateful to whomever will show up for some of these events. I met the Dead Man Walking nun at one such event.

5. Attend program events put on by the Student Activities Board. My favorite one of those was when I attended the guest lecture, "How To Have Great Sex!". The expressions when I came in were....priceless. I was also surprised and pleased to see we had had a larger crowd the night before.

6. Obey the rules for student organizations. When the rules say, "Don't put flyers on windshields"....Don't!
Sometimes every Christian group will get penalized for the reckless actions of one. Help administrators to see and deal with you individually....and they are more likely to when they know you individually. When one fraternity messes up, all fraternities are not put on probation.

7. If the school or an administrator asks or invites you to do it! I have put on my tie and gone and prayed for lots of things! Once the VP of Student Affairs invited all the College Ministers for a sit-down to just visit. I was one of the few who went. I sure did enjoy and benefit from leading that seminar at Freshmen Orientation!


  1. Arliss, these are great suggestions that we often overlook in building our own "kingdoms" ... but what favor they can provide.

  2. Arliss, during my 40 years in collegiate ministry I was privileged to work with several college presidents and other college administrators. I had excellent relationships with all of these. When I retired, the President of the university gave me the same gifts which he gave his faculty and staff retirees, even though I was not directly related to the university. If we treat the administrators right, they will return the favor.