Friday, June 28, 2013

Possess and Demonstrate Integrity....You Are the Face of the Ministry!

College Ministers must not just have integrity....we must go out of our way to demonstrate and practice it.

You are the face of your ministry; your response might be,"Oh no, my students are the face of this ministry.". But, it is you that people must believe in and trust. Every successful entity has a face people recognize and trust. Duke Basketball....Coach K. North Point Church.....Andy Stanley.

Students are drawn to what they see or repelled by it. Your integrity is not only important as a moral standard but as a key to your ministry.

-When people see who you are, do they want to support your ministry?

-Will parents want to send their son or daughter to you?

-Will financial supporters trust in your stewardship of the ministry resources?

-Do college administrators trust you?

What people think of a Collegiate Ministry usually comes down to what they think of the leader. YOU are the face of your ministry....whether you like it or not.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Other People Know More Than You Do!

Never believe you know it all in campus ministry. That is a sure sign you do not. Someone has said, "If you think you understand this business, you don't understand this business.". Look for those who hqve more experience. Look for those who serve in similar situations. Look at what other denominations and groups outside your circle do and know. No ministry or Campus Minister has it all figured out. The best College Ministers I know are constant learners!

Monday, June 24, 2013

4 Ways to Enlarge Your College Ministry

1. Develop an "Invite Mentality" among your core group.
-We tend to think this is automatic and it is not. Teach, talk, stress inviting friends. It is the single most important factor in what you can do to reach more students.

2. Increase the number of students in "Ownership Roles"
- the more students who own the ministry as their one, the more they tend to reach out. Ownership Roles are teams, bands, committees, etc.

3. Be Freshmen Specific.
-Freshmen are the most available, looking for connections and in need of help.

4. Create another time for a main event.
-Some don't come because they are not available when you meet. Create a different time. One BCM ministry on a
Large campus had a Thursday night worship with the Campus Minister speaking and a worship band. They added a Tuesday night worship with a band and the Associate Campus Minister speaking.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Collegiate Discipleship Plan....10 Core Standards

A leading College Minister led a conference on discipleship where he impressed those present with the importance of doing discipleship. But, when the conference was over, one of those who attended said, "but how do do it?".

A group of College Ministers as part of the BCNet have put together this framework for collegiate discipleship. Consider this as you think about what you teach and speak on for a year or a student's four years.

10 Core Standards for Baptist Collegiate Discipleship

The Inward or Personal Disciplines:
Bible study
God's Will
The Gospel

The Outward Disciplines:
Transformed Life
Connection to the Body (Church)

Monday, June 17, 2013

The "Secret" to College Ministry Success

A while back I polled 5 highly recognized and appreciated College Ministers for what they thought the one or two things were that set their ministries apart. I learned two things and one of them is what I genuinely believe is THE SECRET to College Ministry success....other then the blessing and work of the Holy Spirit.

The first thing I learned is that none of them said the thing or things that set their ministries apart were the same. It is the reminder there is no perfect one way. There are the variables of resources, different campus settings, individual gifts and abilities, and resources that do make every situation different.

But, there was one thing that came through loud and clear and it is, I believe, the secret to College Ministry success. That secret is, Have a plan and keep working that plan! You may tweak and adjust, but you have a very specific plan that everything you do is developing, implementing and undergirding that plan. Each of the five polled demonstrated this secret again and again....they keep working their plan. They don't change much and when they is for a very specific reason.

Things I Do That Make a Difference

A while back I ask 5 top, much respected College Ministers what they did they felt really made a difference in their ministries. Here are their answers:

College Minister#1. "Invest in a small group of freshmen each year (to stay connected with upcoming generations of students, trends, etc.)".

College Minister #2. Participation in state-wide meetings/retreats/missions trips

College Minister #3. "I try to use encouragement on a daily basis with students. This sounds simple, but it is a very powerful part of leadership."

College Minister #4. "Focus on people...not programs. Students get enough of why weren't you at...or why didn't you..."

College Minister #5. "We highly encourage our upperclassmen to live in dorms for ministry purposes."

What is the one thing YOU do that makes a difference? Have you identified it? You should to make sure you are making the most of it!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Getting Students Out of Town

Some years ago I asked five of the top College Ministers I knew to tell me "the one thing" for them as a College Minister. What was the one thing they thought was most important in their large and strong ministries. One said he thought getting students out of town on missions was the most important thing.

Roger and Rose Bear are legendary College Ministers at Indiana State. Rose wrote this in their June newsletter:

"One of the best things about BCM is our summer missions program. There are great things about short term mission trips. We do one every year. However this experience does not begin to compare with that of summer missions. On a short term mission trip, you're with your friends and an adult leader who is taking care of you, and you're there for a week or two. When you are a summer missionary you go alone into the unknown and have to depend on God in a much deeper way. You stay long enough for the excitement to wear off. You stay long enough to build relationships. You stay long enough to experience the joys and heartaches of ministry. Over the decades God has used BCM summer missions to call out generations of ministers and missionaries. I would not be a missionary in Indiana today if I had not been a summer missionary in Rhode Island in 1095 and Nebraska in 1976."

Through the years I have seen God use missions experiences to call students to ministry. Are you making sure your students are challenged and hear the opportunities of missions service for them? Early this fall maybe they need to hear testimonies from this summer.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Will The Traditional BSU/BCM Ministry Model Continue?

A friend in another state asked me that question today. His church is next to a college campus and he sees the need and he has heard the discussion of some leaders advocating college campus church plants as the way to go.

Simply put, my answer was yes. Where there is no viable church to reach out to students, a campus church plant is a great possibility. Where there are strong churches, the traditional BSU/BCM model seems best. It is the College Ministry for many churches and strengthens them as it develops their students and sends them back into those churches. The BSU/BCM Campus Minister serves as a resource to these different churches.

One concern expressed by some is, Will students who attend a campus church plant develop a continued commitment to varied age churches after college. The thing we have learned for sure in recent years is that one type church does not fit all. It follows that one type college ministry is not the exact answer for all college campuses. Even "traditional BSU/BCM models" vary on different type campuses.

Some feared that the decision by the North Carolina Baptist State Convention to do away with their BCM Directors and BCM Centers might start a trend for other state conventions. It seems the opposite has been true. The North Carolina decision has caused some state conventions to consider their college ministry commitment and have stated that BSU/BCM is a top priority for them!

Some Baptist leaders are advocating campus church plants as THE way to do College Ministry, but many of these have not done College Ministry.

Things You HATE to Hear Students Say

-I won't serve this year; I want to give someone else that opportunity.

-I'm having some real doubts and questions about my faith, so I am going to drop out of the college ministry and church till I get them resolved.

-I am leaving this church or college ministry because the band is better at......

-Doctrine doesnt matter as long as you are sincere.

-I am active in my college ministry, so there is no need to go to church.

-I texted my girlfriend or boyfriend it was God's will that we break up.

-I take the summer off from church cause there are no other students around.

-I pick the church that has the latest Sunday morning service.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I Goofed! Help, if You Sent me a Resume.

Someone sent me a resume in the last few days looking for a College Ministry opportunity in Florida. I goofed and it was accidentally deleted.

If that was you, would you please resend it? I apologize.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Some Summer Task Reminders

1. Is there some student that is around for the summer you should spend some extra time with....that one with great potential or one who is especially needy?

2. Read. Put some extra stuff in your tank!

3. If you are a campus based Minister with a does the outside look....yard mowed, edged, bushes trimmed? More people see the outside of your building in the summer than see the inside. I drive by lots of religious centers in the summer that are embarrassing! Often there are more parents and potential students on campus now.

4. Call someone you can learn from or go see them.

5. Attend a summer workshop for Campus Ministers like the one meeting at FBC Denton or get 3 or 4 others together for a day or two for your own brainstorming and brain picking.

6. Take a day away by yourself with the Lord.

7. Go meet some of the people in different offices on campus.

8. Take flowers or a treat to a secretary or janitor that has been particularly helpful to you.

9. Schedule a lunch with the other Campus Ministers on your campus.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Jen Hatmaker on the Today Show and Thinking outside Your Norm

Jen Hatmaker was on the Today show this morning being interview in regard to her blog that went viral. She wrote that she might be the worst end of school mom ever. What you might not know is that she and her husband are church planters in Texas. And, it's one of those churches that has homeless people and well heeled financial people together...crazy for sure!

I love Jen Hatmaker! Let me explain....I was in a meeting evaluating a Baptist program she had been on and some people said she said some things they really didn't agree with and possibly we should not use her again. She said some things I didn't agree with...but I was still thinking about them and loved the fact maybe some of those students who had not liked or agreed with what she said were still thinking about it.

Since I have been in Collegiate Ministry since Moses was a freshman, people often ask me what has changed. One of the things that has changed is that we used to think students ought to hear things they wouldn't automatically agree with and would have to think about. Now, we seem to be afraid for them to think about what they believe and why.

There are some people I agree with 100% that it seems aren't doing half as much in the kingdom as it seems the Hatmakers are. I agree with me more than I do Jen Hatmaker, but I think she is probably a better follower of Jesus than I am. Plus, I like seeing Christians on TV that act like normal people!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Being Professional as a College Minister

A while back someone who had occasional contact with College Ministers was asked to describe the typical one. Their answer was "sloppy and disorganized". As a whole, I don't think that is true....but I do think that is a more common perception than we realize. Since College Ministers exist and must thrive in a college student world, it is easy to not shift gears when we are meeting with and working with others

Three reasons you want to be viewed as professional:
1. College administrators can open and close doors to you and your ministry which is partly affected by how they view you.

2. Potential donors want to give their money to someone they believe is capable and trustworthy. Why should they think their money will be used in the most efficient way if you are perceived as disorganized?

3. Parents must trust their son or daughter to you.

Some simple actions in being professional:
1. Return phone calls, emails and Facebook messages. I would go one step more and say, do it within 24 hours.

2. Casual, funky clothes are good for student events, but meetings with parents, pastors and school officials call for more professional type dress.

3. Acknowledge that you received a message or requested information. If it is an email or Facebook message, a simple ok or thanks is enough...tks works too. An ignored message sends a negative message.

4. Write thank you notes to people who send you money, volunteer or speak at one of your events.

5. Double check any letters that you send out for spelling and professional style and appearance (Remember spellcheck will let you down.).

Thursday, June 6, 2013

#Old Guys Rule

Paul Worchester, College Minister in California, tweeted that today. His point was that younger College Ministers need to learn from older and more experienced College Ministers. It is a statement with which I agree...especially since I became an old guy!

A few years back when I was leading a fairly large College Ministry, a young College Minister working in a much smaller ministry told me he didn't want to do it "the old way"...seemingly like I was doing it. In fact, he said he would not work on a staff where he could not call his own shots. As one who helps organize a conference for College Ministers, I continually am struck by how many younger College Ministers are out in the hall while some College Ministry sages are leading seminars.

So, what are some things the "Old Guys" have to share?

-They usually know the difference in passing fads and principles.

--They have survived many years and are still doing College Ministry....they at least know something about long term faithfulness.

-They have learned to minister past their of the strengths of young College Ministers is often an appealing charisma....but what happens if and when the glow of youth fades?

-They have depth of faith that has weathered a variety of experiences from which to minister...they know firsthand the good and bad days.

-They understand that tough questions don't always have simple answers. A friend of mine who is president of a college says, "For every difficult question, there is an obvious and easy answer.....that is usually wrong!". Yes, he is an old guy.

-They know from experience that things are never quite as bad as it seems on some days and they know on the good days that no the ministry has not arrived in the golden age.

Because they are older and have a wide variety of acquaintances and friends in places of responsibility, that these people whisper things in their ear.

Yes #Old Guys Rule....but you got to have good young guys and gals, or we won't have wise old guys and gals in the future. If you are a young guy or gal, attached yourself to a wise old guy or gal. If you are a wise old College Minister, look for young ones that want to learn.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

College Ministry: Fellowship vs Strictly Spiritual

There are two different approaches to College Ministry that can be argued as to which is best.

Some ministries pride themselves on being strictly spiritual....they don't do fun events and they don't have parties. There are two or three points made for this type ministry.
-They do one thing well and it is a ministry, not a social club.
-The ministry can reach people from a variety of campus groups because it is not a social group.
-It is not seen as competing with other clubs and Fraternities or Sororities.

Some College Ministries are intentionally fellowship oriented:
-They use parties and fun events as outreach.
-They stress that discipleship and accountability takes place in the midst of close personal and on-going relationships.
-They believe that meeting the social needs of the students connected to their ministry helps those students avoid the temptations and destructive behavior that exists with many campus social groups and events.

Which is better? Honestly, I think there is an argument to be made for and against both! Those intentionally fellowship oriented can loose sight of their main purpose and simply become a club for nice people on campus. The strictly spiritual group can become one dimensional and disconnected from real life.

I observed a church based College Ministry that stressed social and being together/being family. New students who visited the church and the collegiate events often expressed that they felt left out and excluded. The students were encouraged to sit together down front on Sunday mornings. It greatly impressed the older people in the church. But, other students who came to the church on Sundays soon felt they had to "join the group" or go some where else to church. It had an all or nothing feel.

The strictly spiritual group may find themselves only able to reach the "hard core committed". Correctly or not, this ministry can be seen as only for the super committed and lack an entry point for seekers, new or immature believers.

I have seen strong healthy ministries of both types. Personally, I prefer a hybrid. There are social events, but the ministry does not try to meet all the social needs of the students connected to it and most, if not all social events have a purpose or are tied to spiritual events...such as fun things following a worship or Bible study.

Which is your ministry...strictly spiritual, fellowship oriented or are you trying for hybrid? The point clear in your mind about what you are trying to be and WHY!