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 is..be clear in your mind about what you are trying to be and WHY!

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