Monday, April 29, 2013

10 Wise Sayings of Collegiate Ministry

1. A Collegiate Ministry usually reflects the strengths and weaknesses of its leader.

2. To reach a particular group, reach someone in that group.

3. The large attracts; the small keeps.

4. What you do the first three weeks of the fall semester defines your ministry for the whole school year.

5. A meeting space will only fill to 80% on a regular basis. Too much empty space is discouraging.

6. Who you reach determines who you can and cannot reach.

7. It takes three years to establish a ministry or for an established one to become your own.

8. If multiple staff members work with all the same students, someone is not necessary.

9. Good falls are made in the summer.

10. Relationships are the currency of your ministry.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Evaluating Your Ministry at the End of the School Year

As school begins to come to an end, there can be relief, sadness or sometimes just sheer joy!

But, whatever your feeling, there needs to be evaluation, before it gets too cold. Here are some questions to ask?

-How did our leadership do in owning the ministry and therefore giving it their best?

-Did I utilize volunteers in the best possible way?

-Were my personal strengths or gifts utilized to the max?

-Was the "Quality" of our large group event what it needs to be?

-Which group did we do best with or neglect...the strongly committed or the fringe or non-believers?

-What was the strength or greatest success of our ministry this year?

-What was the greatest weakness of our ministry this year?

-Who is one student I saw God move in their life this year that I need to celebrate?

Remember: Good falls are made in the summer!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

End of the School Year Events

Ending well is just as important as starting well. Do you end strong or just sort of disappear?

In College Ministry, students often disappear over the last 3 or 4 weeks not as an intentional decision to drop out of your ministry. Rather, it is a result of too many projects put off and too few chapters read earlier and oh yeah, even professors realizing they need to throw in an extra project or exam to round out their grade process.

But, if students aren't there at the end, it is harder for them to return in the fall. Do you have some event that they just don't want to miss....that's easy to come to....that there is extra promotion and publicity about?
What are some options?
-End of the Year cookout with fun or serious awards.
-Dead Day Olympics
-Spring Float trip
-Day of Service around town or campus or church
-Recognition event honoring all students who will be serving in Summer Ministry
-Event honoring graduating seniors (make sure you get those that haven't been there much this year too!)

But wait! Have you thought about an End of the Year Event that appreciates all the adult volunteers that helped your ministry this school year?
-Sunday School classes that provided food
-Teachers that taught and have for years
-Churches that brought all those great meals for your Lunch Program (I attended a great one today.)
-Families that took in your students

If possible at a thank you event for volunteers, let them know some of the great things that happened as part of your ministry this year and help them realize they were part of making it happen!

It's not too late to end with a bang! It will help you start better than a whimper this fall!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Campus Based College Ministry or Collegiate Church Plants?

A key discussion within the Baptist collegiate ministry community these days raises the question.....Campus based College Ministry OR Collegiate Church plants? Some are advocating doing away with the BCM/BSU model which has been so successful and replacing these ministries with campus church plants.

To me, it is a false question. In some campus situations there is no evangelical church close to the campus or that even tries to relate to the campus. In those situations a Collegiate Church plant is an obvious solution. In many situations (particularly in deep south states) where there is a strong Baptist Collegiate Ministry and often more than one church reaching out to students, a campus church would not be the best option.

Some argue that as long as there are unreached students, why not go ahead and start a collegiate church. I have two responses to that. First, with so many college campuses with no evangelical ministry, why start a church where we already have functioning ministries? Second, many College Ministry experts say that 4 out of 5 high school seniors active in church have no spiritual connection in college and a factor in this is separating youth ministry from the church as a whole. So, when youth leave the youth group, they have graduated from church.

Now, are we ready to risk separating College students from a multi-generational church and hope they connect to a church after college? Where there is no church, start a collegiate church. For those of us who see many Baptist Collegiate Ministries reaching more students with the Gospel than all other ministries on campus combined, the suggestion that we do away with those ministries is difficult to understand.

It is a false question to ask which is best...traditional campus ministry or college church plant? It depends on the situation and what is already happening there.

7 Key Relationships for Campus Based College Ministers

Relationships are the currency of our ministry. This is true for both campus and church based. But, the list varies a little for the two. If you are campus based, these 7 are a must for your ministry to be it's best.

1. Relationships with your key student on one investment, etc.

2. Relationships with casual they believe you k ow and care about them?

3. Relationships with campus leaders....Student body president, Activities Board, know any cheerleaders?

4. Relationships with campus they know who you are? Do they see you as a fellow professional?

5. Relationships with key figures on campus...coaches, certain professors.

6. Relationships with the students no one else tries to relate to....we need to attract some of the top students on campus, but we also need to attract and minister to those students who wouldn't have anyone else, if they didn't have us!

7. Relationships with people that do or could potentially support your ministry financially. NEVER take any funding for granted! Everyone is looking for places to cut!!

How's your relationships? Which ones do you need to work on?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Ideas from College Metro - Church College Ministrers Meeting

I enjoyed being with College Metro, the annual spring gathering of Church College Ministers in Baptist churches. Just like campus based College Ministers, their favorite part is sharing ideas. Here are some I heard:

Decide who you are and what the personality of your ministry is....that helps you filter what you will and won't do.

I was greatly impressed with the thought and planning that some have put into their College Sunday School and the overall plan for their College Ministry.
-one church uses the 4 statements of their church mission statement to guide the four years of their teaching. The freshmen study the most basic each year, the sophomores do the next, etc.
-they are in the process of developing a better senior curriculum to prepare them for what's next covering areas like money management, marriage, doing resumes, and good work habits.....all biblically based.

Another church shared their 5 Core Principles that they will teach and involve their students with:
-Working Biblical knowledge
-Healthy relationships
-Teaching service

It raises a great question. Do you have a plan of what your students will hear and learn during their four years with you?

Good Ideas and Giveaways:
-Hand out bottled water and coffee filters (girls blot their make-up with the coffee filters...who knew?
-Free Gum Table...6 or 7 of the most popular brands
-You can print your ministry name on a scantron.
-Big College service early in the school year for the WHOLE church with a well known band, but one that can also relate to the non-students.
-The Impossible Shot...prizes for anyone who can make it.

Number 1 frustration I heard: too many weekly staff and planning meetings that kept them from spending time on campus or with students. But, one shared the frustration of no weekly staff meeting and encouragement or staff community.
-Dodgeball tournament and supper.
-Milkshake booth on campus...they order their preferred and you get their info during the time it takes to make it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Why Are Baptists Making Cuts in College Ministry?

Southern Baptists have the largest College Ministry program in the US. It is on more than 800 campuses, which is more than Campus Crusade and FCA combined which are the second and third largest.

So, why are Baptists now making cuts? That was the question I was asked countless times yesterday by email, Facebook and at a Deacons Meeting. Every article we read talks of the loss of the 20something generation to the church. Logic would say, "It's time to double down...not cut.". That's what one deacon said last night.

So, why are we cutting? First, I don't think there is one answer. Part of the uniqueness of Southern Baptists is we are not top down driven. Each church and each Baptist State Convention makes it's own decisions. No one in an office in Nashville or Richmond or Atlanta can tell them what to do. So, decisions and reasons can vary for each place.

Here are what I think (just one else speaking here) are the main and variety of reasons:

1. Reduced giving by churches-when the economy went down a few years ago many church incomes went down and they reduced what they send on to state and national causes.

2. A few years ago there was a plea nationally to churches and state conventions to send more money to the International Mission Board for increased foreign missionaries and to the North American Mission Board for increased church planting in the US. As a result, several state conventions increased their gifts to these missions agencies. So, after they did that with income reduced or not rising, they had to make cuts.

3. The North American Mission Board has placed almost all their emphasis on church planting. This has run over into what they do in Collegiate Ministry. Many of these people are now advocating that starting a church on campus is a better model than the traditional BSU/BCM model.

4. Some in Baptist life have felt that some of the Non-denominational ministries are more effective and or more evangelistic than BSU/BCM.

5. Again, each State convention makes it's own decisions and these decisions are not made by those who are experts or leaders in Collegiate Ministry.

6. In many instances in Baptist life we are more and more influenced by what I call "Mega Church Thinking". That is that the pastors of the larger churches have a large forum and influence. Mega churches tend to have the resources to do whatever they want to by themselves. So, they often say that the churches ought to do College Ministry....that's the way we do it. Yet, we are not a denomination or a country of Mega churches.

7. Very simply put, I think when leaders are looking for places to cut staff due to declining funds, they look for the place they can cut with the least amount of squawking or complaining....that is College Ministry.

I am not saying I agree with all of these points, but I believe they are the main ones that are at play in these decisions.

Simply put, I think the cuts being made in Baptist Collegiate Ministry are a HUGE mistake and if we do not reverse this trend, we will pay for it for years to come!

Arliss Dickerson

Monday, April 15, 2013

North Carolina Eliminates Baptist Collegiate Ministry

The North Carolina Baptist Convention announced that they will eliminate their Baptist Collegiate Ministry positions and sell their campus centers. They will have three regional positions that are to work with and encourage churches in doing College Ministry. They will retain two people who have been doing International student ministry. This is part of their re-structuring of their Baptist Convention staff.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Guest Blog: "I Learned Everything I Need to Know in BSU/BCM". John Moore

I served in Campus Ministry for 31 years before becoming a full time Pastor on January 1 at the age of 61. While in Campus Ministry, I served in Commuter College Campuses, on a Baptist College Campus, a major flagship university (THE LSU), as a state BCM Director and very briefly as the National BCM Leader. As a pastor, I quickly realized that I had learned everything I needed to know about ministry in BSU/BCM! I have even come to the conclusion that every SBC Pastor should be required to serve as a BSU/BCM Director for 3 years before being allowed to pastor a church!!

Here are some great lessons that I learned as a Baptist Collegiate Minister that helped as a pastor:

-As a Campus Minister, I rubbed elbows every day with lost people and had a chance to share my faith almost daily.

-I learned that College Students (young adults) are fantastic growing Christian leaders that need someone to listen to them and encourage them.

-As the only staff member in my ministry, I was responsible for everything! From the Spiritual to the mundane. From leading Bible studies, to answering the phone, to unclogging the toilet.

-I learned to tolerate diversity. In an academic setting people come from from very different backgrounds and you have to be very loving and accepting to have the right to share Christ.

-As the main financial officer, you have to be great at fund raising and having outstanding accountability for how your funds are spent.

-You have more people who assume they are your boss then you can count! Students, pastors, parents, faculty, DOMs, the state convention headquarters, national Baptist agencies, alum's and the list goes on! Everyone who thinks they are your boss knows what you ought to be doing! Students think you should spend all your time hanging out with them.

-Parents want you to spend all your time keeping their children away from all evil in college. Faculty and staff want you recruiting and retaining students on their campus. Pastors want you on campus witnessing all day and they want you recruiting members for their church. DOM's want you to hqve a dynamic program so you can promote the Associationsl budget while taking a 10% cut from last year. State Convention officials want you to raise up more tithers. National agencies want you to train only Baptist students who be planters and use only Baptist publications.

-People criticize what you do or don't do even though they have no idea of your circumstances, goals or constraints.

-You do more then talk about missions. You are actively re hiring, training and funding students to go on summer missions, semester missions and school break missions.

You constantly have to defend and justify your ministry because someone has fallen in love with some other ministry who reaches, wins and sends fewer students.

The point is, Campus Ministers are hard working, deeply committed Christians who do a fantastic job. Are there some lazy campus ministers in Baptist life? I'm sure there are, but from my experience, there are fewer lazy Campus Ministers than you will find in any other ministry. If I had quit church when I had been disappointed by a pastor, I would have quit shortly after I started going.

Too often in Baptist life if we dont like the BCM Directors personality, or we don't think he is doing what he should, we say all BCM leaders are bad. That is just not the truth!

Next time you see a BSU/BCM Director, thank him for what he does. Assume he knows a ton of stuff about ministry, outreach, creative ways to share faith and that you can learn something from him! Who knows, he may be training to be a pastor!!

John Moore, Pastor
Jubilee Worship Center
Westmoreland, TN

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What's in a Name?

Since I have an unusual first name, I have always been interested in names. When I started in College Ministry many years ago, we were called Baptist Student Union Directors. Many or maybe even most of us were not ordained. We went out of the way to not be called "Ministers". For one thing, it was the kiss of death with students.

Over some years, our title morphed into Baptist Campus Minister. Why did that change? Did students like ministers better now? Some would argue that the title change came as a part of helping pastors and others see that ours was not a Ministry of ping pong. The accusation actually was that we only played ping pong with students. Did we? Of course, just like pastors drink coffee with their people.

My church has a full time College Minister. Two people back, he went by the title, "University Minister". When he left that position, the new University Minister who came called himself, "the College Pastor". I recently got a communication from a Baptist Campus Minister/BSU Director and it listed his title as "Campus Pastor". I don't know if that is a title he has chosen for himself or one given by those who employ him.

I am struck by the fact that the more we report that today's 20something generation is turned off by religion and the church, the more we have gone to extra religious terminology in our titles of those who do Christian Ministry with college students.

Does our title matter? Who is it aimed at...those we work with or those we work for? Any suggestions for a better title?
Arliss Dickerson

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The BIG 5 in College Ministry Leadership

1. Leaders develop other leaders.

2. Relationships trump all else.

3. Example is bigger than huge!

4. Giving some ownership is a must.

5. Affirm, Accept, Develop, Play to your strengths.

First Baptist, Lafayette, LA Seeking College Ministry Intern

Male who would serve under the direction of Andrea Mckenzie, Minister of College and Missions. Housing and a stipend is provided. For more info or to apply, contact Andrea at 337.233.1412 or 1100 Lee Ave. Lafayette, LA 70501

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Which is Better Personality or Organization?

Most have the view of the perfect College Minister as being one who wows people with his or her personality. They come to a ministry and instantly people are drawn to them and the ministry booms. But, not all of us who are called to College Ministry are the super personality type....did God make a mistake in our call or did we mis-hear what God was saying?

I must say I have come to the conclusion that I will take organization every time...if the two don't go together. A "Personality Ministry" often disappears when the personality leaves. A ministry built over time by organization tends to outlast the organizer.

Organization develops a variety of leaders and shares ownership. If God has blessed you with the big personality, be grateful, but work on your organization. I must tell you the vast majority of great Collegr Ministries with which I'm familiar are led by organization people.

Organizing multiplies your ministry.

Monday, April 8, 2013

College Minister of the Year Nominations Sought!

College Ministers are among, if not the most, under appreciated of all those in ministry. In May we plan to announce the College Minister of the Year. Help us do that. Send us your nominations with a 3 or 4 sentence statement of why you are nominating that person.

They don't have to be famous. He or she may serve on a small campus and not have hundreds at their events. But, their ministry is strong; they serve faithfully and they are and have made a difference.

We will announce those nominated and give them a bit of recognition. Formerly, the Association of Southern Baptist Campus Minister's Association used to honor one Campus Minister each year with their Service Award. Since the ABSCM group dissolved, there has been no such recognition.

The Country Music Entertainer of the Year Award is comes the College Minister of the Year! Send us YOUR nomination. Send the nomination to

Saturday, April 6, 2013

3 College Ministry Positions - More Info

Baptist Campus Minister for University of Washington-Baptist Center on campus across from fraternity Row with an apartment for the Campus Minister. Experience a necessity. For more info, contact Ken Harmon, 503.957.8109.

Campus Director of Student Ministries for Southeast Missouri-the position is funded thru a partnership of local churches, two Baptist Associations, and the Missouri Baptist Convention. Good salary and benefits. The Baptist Collegiate Ministries Board is looking to find someone who is a disciple maker. The ministry includes Southeast Missouri State University and it's satellite campuses in the region, as well as community colleges. This means the focus is residential and commuter students. This is a very broad definition of student ministry but one we feel is possible for someone that understands an organic multiplying ministry. Submit a resume to or Baptist Collegiate Ministries, 5103 Old Cape Road East, Jackson, MO 63755. The BCM Board meets April 30th.

Full Time Contemporary Worship Leader sought by FBC, Jonesboro, AR to lead a service of 500 which includes Collegiates and all age adults. In addition, this person would train and lead the Tech Team. They would possibly lead the Wednesday night Collegiate worship. For information or to submit a resume, or 870.275.3274.

I am the go between for all these positions and have just been asked to help them connect with the right folks. Please share this word with others.

College Ministry jobs with salaries are scarce these,please pass the word.

Arliss Dickerson

Friday, April 5, 2013

50 Secrets of College Ministry...Totally Self Serving Post...Be Warned!

50 Secrets of College Ministry is a little self published book that I did that some states have given to their Baptist Campus Ministers. I also use it as a give-away sometimes when I speak.

It is a brief paragraph on each page. Some are obvious to veteran Campus Ministers.....and yet things we sometimes forget. One College Minister told me he read it straight through (probably about 30 minutes, at most) and then he was going back and doing one a day through the summer. Hope it was not his devotional! It is not a pretty coffee table book.

Each "Secret" is a statement followed by the brief paragraph explanation. Here is an example:

#34. A ministry reflects both the STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES of it's leader.

So, you must find and empower people to serve in areas where you are weak. It may be students or it could be volunteers. Not everyone needs to graduate from your ministry looking just like you.

Thanks for those who have asked about it. When I sell it, it is $7.50 plus $2.00 S&H. If interested, just send me an email.
Arliss Dickerson

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Leadership Mentoring Books for College Ministry

I was asked yesterday what were some good books for mentoring your leaders. Here are 3 possibilities:

Habitudes by Tim Elmore. I have heard more College Ministers mention this one than any other. One told me he thought it was particularly good with athletes.

Wired for Influence by Tim Elmore was part of a series that Tim did for Lifeway a number of years ago. I still see it pop up on Amazon. So, you can find it there.

Two that I like and have used with my Presidents in our weekly one on one meeting are:
The 21 indispensable Qualities of a Leader by John Maxwell
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
Also, I would do one law of either one of these each week in our Freshmen Leadership Team meeting.

By the way, Tim Elmore put together the John Maxwell Leadership Bible out of Maxwell's writings for his doctoral proect. Tim was Maxwell's College Minister when Maxwell was pastor of a church in California.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What's the ONE Publicity or Enlistment Strategy that Works Best?

In the spring I visited and spoke for Senior Sundays at churches; we handed out brochures and had a display at Summer Orientations, mailed to all freshmen we could get an address for and students and I wrote a ton of personal notes.

A new Church College Minister in our town sent out a copied "Dear Freshman" letter. Later in the fall, he told me that not a single freshman had told him they had read his, he said he wanted me to tell him the ONE thing that worked best and he would do that the next fall. I couldn't decide if he thought I was really smart (I knew the one magic thing.) or really stupid cause I knew the one magic thing, but did all the others too!

I heard a story this past weekend that reminded me that you never know what or how students connect to your ministry. I performed the wedding of a former student who came to Christ in our ministry. One of the groomsmen was the guy who brought him to our ministry. I asked the groomsman how he got connected to our ministry. He said he had attended one of our local churches and they had encouraged him to also come to the BCM.

So, I asked, "How did you get connected to that church?". He said, "The first week of school at something, I sat next to this really cute blond girl.". She said, "Why dont you go to First Baptist with me tonight.". He said I wasn't the least interested in going to church, but thought I would go anywhere with her. They went and sat together....he didn't see her again the whole next week. So, on Wedneaday night, he went back to First Baptist to connect with her. She wasn't there that, he went back the next week. Still no cute blond, but by then he said, "I was hooked on the church."

Later in the semester, he saw the cute blond on campus...he said, "Hey, I've not seen you at First Baptist lately.". She said, "Oh, I don't go there; I just wanted to visit that night and didn't want to go by myself."

A guy came to Christ and is walking with the Lord today cause a cute blond invited another guy who wasn't the least interested in going to church. So, what's the ONE thing....I don't have a clue! Oh yeah. Personal invitations work really well!