Monday, March 31, 2014

The Gift of Evangelism......The Gift of Renewal?

We hear the term used frequently that someone has "The Gift of Evangelism". Most of the College Ministry meetings we go to today, great emphasis is given to how many college students are not believers and how we have to do a better job of sharing the Gospel....planting student churches, etc.

These same meetings sometimes will talk about or share the figures of how many 20somethings are walking away from the church, 8 out of 10...some say 7 out of 10.....others say no; it's 6 out of 10. Six out of ten is supposed to be the good news optimistic report, I guess. Bad news anyway you slice it.

So, what is our strategy for "Renewal" of these who are walking away? Apart from "do more contemporary worship", I don't think we are addressing the "Renewal Issue". Some would say and have argued that a large percentage of those walking away never knew Christ to begin with....they just sang the songs and ate the pizza.

I disagree. I believe that many of them came to know Christ and even diligently tried to walk with Him in high school. Those of us who have worked on deep south campuses know the stories by the scores. He/she was our Youth Group key student leader. She was the leader of the True Love Waits movement at school. He/she made a commitment to full time ministry. They will be your next BCM president.

How do we do practice the Gift of Renewal? First, we must recognize the need for it....just as we recognize the need for evangelism. Second, we have to be intentional about practicing the Gift or Ministry of Renewal in College Ministry. Third, we must affirm and give a language to the Gift and Ministry of Renewal.

More to come in the next few days on "The Gift of Renewal".

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Good Church Ministry Idea

You may not have seen the comment on my blog, "What's the One Thing"? Jonathon is a Church College Minister. This idea is from him.

He says Paul Worchester in his E-Book on starting a College Ministry says, "Freshmen are looking for fun and friends". So, Jonathon says he has either a fun or service event each month and since he started doing this his ministry has boomed. The second thing he says is the discussion and growth that happens in his small groups.

He has figured out what his ONE Thing is....and 1-B. Have you understood what YOUR one thing is?

In previous blogs I have stated I believe in College Ministries offering some fun events because many students become involved in harmful activities while just looking for fun events. But, you have to not become just a wholesome fun organization.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What's the ONE Thing?

Marcus Buckingham, the noted writer and author on strengths, says in everything there is one thing that makes the difference.

If that is true.....what is it in College Ministry? I have written previously that I think the one necessary personal characteristic for a successful College Minister is not speaking ability....but respect. But, is there ONE thing that makes for a successful College Ministry?

Some would argue that it is the large group meeting. Everything comes off of that. People are attracted to it and then become believers, attach to other parts of your ministry, etc.

Others would argue that it is small groups, that is where real personal growth and discipleship happens. Some of these even scoff at the need for a large group meeting.

Still, a third group would argue that it is one to one discipleship. A survey in our ministry some years ago saw our individual meetings with our Team Leaders listed as what they saw as most valuable.

So, which one of these is it? What's the ONE thing, if Buckingham is right?

I agree with Buckingham that there is ONE thing......but, here is where I probably diverge from him. There is ONE thing......but......that ONE thing varies from ministry to ministry. It may be the setting. It may be a particular skill of the College Minister. It may be a Center in the middle of campus. It may be resources. It may be tradition. I have seen enough strong, large College Ministries to realize there is more than one way to do it right and well. God uses uniqueness.

What is the ONE thing in your ministry? Have you identified it? Are you utilizing it to the max? But, whatever it is.....students have to respect you for God to use your ministry in the long run!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Available Collegiate Ministry Postions

Collegiate Ministry Intern, (Male preferred) First Baptist Church, Lafayette, LA for fall and spring semester. Work under supervision and mentorship of experienced College Minister. $1,000 per month stipend and housing provided. Contact Andrea Mckenzie 337.593.3655 or

2 Positions:

Work with BCM at Northwestern and Evanston Baptist Church
-Pastoral Ministry Intern, compensation: $2,000 per month combination we provide and you raise.

-Music Ministry Intern, compensation: $1500 per month combination we provide and you raise.
For both contact: Scott Kelly, BCM Director and Pastor, 872.213.0822/

We had contacts from campuses in Mississippi, Virgina and Arkansas that also have Assistant, Intern or Associate positions available. For different reasons, they were not ready to post them at this point. There are positions out there.

If you have a vacant position in College Ministry available, if you will contact me, I will do one more posting of positions in the next couple of weeks.

Arliss Dickerson
Leadership Contract Worker
Lifeway Collegiate Ministry Office

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Be CAREFUL on Campus!

This is not a safety reminder about parking in lighted areas or be careful when leaving the library late at night like the notices you see around campus. This is about maintaining whatever rights you and other religious groups have on campus. Don't take them for granted or don't think they can't disappear instantly.

Many years ago when I started in College Ministry, we were allowed to do "dorm visitation". We could go see students who had visited our ministry. We could go find students whose names had been given to us. On a neighboring campus that also allowed this practice, a campus group was accused of harassing students in the dorm (in fairness, they denied it.). The response of the administration was to bar all Campus Ministers from the dorms.

The campus where I served most recently had a rule against placing flyers on car windshields. It was a littering issue. An area church came on campus and put flyers on all the cars....after all, what could the school do to them...and they were being a "bold witness". I shivered....I knew there were lots of things the school could do that would affect us.

You've been living under a rock if you aren't aware that many campuses are greatly limiting the freedom of Christian campus ministries. Be aware of rules. Keep the rules. Interact with campus officials in a professional and respectful way. Help them see and know you as a professional who benefits their campus and students. Remember, fairly or not, many college administrators lump all religious groups together. When you interact with the administration and rules in the right way, you benefit all ministries on campus. When you behave irresponsibly, you harm all Ministires on campus.

It was hinted to me at one point that I was "liberal" because I was treading carefully in what we would and would not do on campus. Is breaking the rules one time worth forfeiting your right to be on campus? Are you playing fast and loose with everyone's ministry....not just yours? Your ministry is not about one event or one semester. A ministry that honors the Lord is in it for the long term. My friend, Johnny Pons, said he went to Penn State to die there. Serve and minister with the idea that you are going to be there for years and God will use you in many lives over time....not just a flash in the pan ministry that shows it's great disregard for a long term ministry.

One final suggestion: Deal with the administration in such a way that if one ministry goes "off the reservation" in their behavior, they will hopefully realize it's not representative of your ministry.

-Know the rules.

-Keep the rules.

-Deal with the administration as a professional.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Want Your Internship or Staff Opening Listed?

I have had two contacts asking if I know of anyone for staff and intern positions. If you will send me your info, I will do a blog listing available positions.

Send me the following:
-list a brief job description.
-give a contact....sorry I can't be a middle man for anonymous listings.
-give some sort of salary information (range, raise your own, combo, etc). This will help you not deal with folks who aren't able to fit into that category.
-tell how long the term is...permanent, one year, 3 year commitment, etc, etc.
-do you want male, female or either?
-this is not limited to Baptists.

You can email me your information.


Selecting Staff or Interns

I got my first call this past week from a friend looking for staff for next year. It's that time. So, how do you select someone to work in your ministry either as full-time, one year term, part-time student intern, etc?

Questions to Consider:

1. Do I want someone with my same skills and personality type?

2. Do I want someone with a very different set of skills and personality type?

3. Do I want/need a male or female?

4. Am I willing to hire the best person available be they male or female?
-I must admit to making a couple of hiring missteps when I thought it had to be one or the other and I did
not flex.

5. Do I realize it is better to NOT hire anyone than it is to hire the wrong person?

Let me share what I believe is the single most important factor in hiring someone you will supervise. It is not skill is not is not rock star references. It is chemistry. How do the two of you connect? Is this someone you will enjoy sitting down and talking with? Is it someone you can see every day and feel good about it?

No matter how qualified someone is or what skill set they have or who recommends them, if you are not comfortable working with them on a daily basis, it is probably the wrong hire.

Always always run references before you get serious about hiring someone. I am amazed at the number of references I get to fill out where they say it is basically a done deal we just need a reference from you for a formality. Also, don't just chck references they provide. Find someone who has worked with them that they did not give as a reference. Most of us have 3 or 4 friends that will say good things about us....even if they aren't true.

let me repeat #5....It is better NOT to hire someone...leave the position vacant....than it is to hire the wrong person. It may sound logical to say, Anybody is better than nobody!". It is just not true. It is always easier to do something yourself than to continually be cleaning up someone else's mess. Often, it is better for something to not be done than for it to be done wrong or in a hurtful or harmful way. Nobody is better than the wrong body.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What's in a Title?

One thing I notice today is there is more variety of titles among those who do College Ministry. Sometimes, that is nothing more than trend or what's in vogue. But, sometimes the different titles represent a specific view of College Ministry or their specific ministry or how they do it. Here are some examples.

-Campus Pastor

-Campus Minister

-University Minister

-Baptist Campus Minister

-BCM Director

-College Pastor

-The College Kid (that's one I heard given...not used by the person himself.)

I'm sure there are lots more and would be glad to hear them. Since I travel mostly in Baptist circles, those are mostly what I hear. Two or three things to consider:
-What does my title say about what I do?
-What do people hear when that title is used (perhaps not what you intended them to hear)?
-Does my title convey a truthful description?

I recently heard a Baptist Collegiate Ministry person say his title was "Campus Pastor". On the very large campus where he serves, some would say that's not accurate....others would say, "He's A Campus Pastor...but not THE Campus Pastor". Obviously, many of us don't have a choice what title we have...but, I do hear people describe themselves by a title different than what their official title is.

What title do you use and why?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Senior Sunday is Coming!

Yesterday, I had communication with two different Youth Ministers planning their High School Seniors Recogniton Sundays. Different churches that I have worked with do a banquet or luncheon following the service or on Saturday night. Let me make some suggestions, if you are invited to speak at one of these or other ways you may connect to them, etc.

1. If you are speaking, speak to both parents and seniors. Don't just challenge the seniors about faith in college or where ever they are headed, but challenge themparents to be part of that process also. I have come to the conclusion that one factor in many college students walking away from faith in college is that basically their committed, active Christian parents in some way give them permission to walk away....cause we all know they will come back....yeah right...and if they do, bring all the baggage that goes with their walking away.

2. Give specific suggestions as to how to connect to faith at College.
-Do it within the first 2 weeks or you likely will not.
-Connect before going...on line, visit the ministry on a preview or Orientation Day.
-Sign up for special Freshmen events such as Survival, Freshmen Leadership Team, etc at the BCM ministry.
-look at different church options on line and what they may offer to College students.

But They Don't Ask Me to Speak at their Senior Day Events:

1. Prior to the Senior Day event, send the Youth Minister or Pastor a note asking them to send you their list and addresses and colleges they are attending....even if they aren't coming to your school, you can pass them on...wouldnt it be great if everyone did that! I find they are more likely to do it then than later in the summer.

2. If you have a church in your vicinity with a strong youth ministry and many of their students normally attend your college, you can simply attend the Senior Sunday service, make some notes and even make some personal connections then or with a handwritten note or call later on.

Another Option:

Offer churches that you will come and do a "Parents of College Freshmen Seminar" at their time and place. Parents are more frightened and concerned than they have ever been and you can speak words of wisdom into the situation.
You can do topics like:
-Common Mistakes Freshmen Make
-Pros and Cons of Fraternity/Sorority Life
-2 Common Traits of Happiest Students by Surveys:
1. Live on campus (more likely to be involved, engaged and have friends...but, don't have to live on campus to do that.)
2. Active in a student organization that shares their goals and priorities.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Questions to Ask as Spring Comes to Campus

Hopefully, spring is about to appear and whether it does or not...Spring Break will and that changes every thing! Following Spring Break, the days race to the end of the semester. Students are less with you every day from Spring Break on.

Now is the time to ask these questions about your ministry?

1. What do we need to experiment with or try out as a possible change for next fall?
-Considering a time change for your weekly event....try it out!
-Considering a different location for an event....try it out.
-Considering a format change....try it out.

2. What do you need to double down on?
-in other words, are you utilizing your strengths to the max?

3. What students need one more conversation about their summer plans or missions application deadlines?

4. Do you know the dates for any Orientations or other summer events you need to connect to?

5. Have you talked with your spouse about penciling in vacation days and which before other things get put down?

6. How does your Student Leadership Team need to be tweaked?

7. When are you doing Student Leadership Team interviews/selection?

8. Who are some students who have disappeared during the ice, cold, snow, flu season with which you need to re-connect?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Should a College Ministry Tithe it's Budget?

Should a College Ministry tithe what is given to it to do ministry? In other words, if you have a $10,000 budget for your ministry, should you give $1,000 to a less fortunate ministry?

This is a thorny question. Some would say, "No; if the money was given to you by individuals for your ministry, then you do not have the right or ability to give it to another ministry....that's mis-use of funds.". But, if we are trying to teach students to give and give sacrificially, shouldn't our ministry model that?

Almost all of us would say our ministry never has enough..,there's always something else that needs doing or more scholarships to be given to students to attend worthy events. But, what if a College Ministry with a $100,000 budget(yes; there are some.) gave $10,000 to a ministry that had next to nothing?

Let me admit that I don't know the answer. I think there are good points on each side of the discussion. BUT, I do think ministries should help other ministries. Many years ago I was in Nashville for a committee meeting. Many may not realize that Nashville is a Greek word that means committee meeting, if you are a Southern Baptist. I was riding to the airport with a College Minister from California. We got to talking about his ministry. He had ministries on different campuses and he said he tried to do something special for each once a month.

I asked what the monthly something special was. He said usually iced tea. I gulped hard and I thought about how much I had spent on pizza recently. So, I said, "I will send you some iced tea money each month.".

A few years later our Student Leadership Team was talking about helping the ministry at Princeton. We had already set our Missions Goal and it was already committed to different things. One of the students said, "If we go over our goal, why don't we give half of that overage to Princeton.". Good idea! That could possibly get them a couple of hundred dollars.....crazy thing....we went over our goal by several thousand dollars that year!

I don't know if a College Ministry should tithe it's budget...but, I do think we all should be helping other ministries. I promise you there is someone who has less than you do.

Monday, March 3, 2014

What Should You Speak on EVERY Year?

Last spring I attended the College Metro Conference, a yearly gathering for Church College Ministers. In one of the seminars, one shared that he had a 4 year plan of things students would hear and learn during 4 years in that ministry. I was very impressed with the planning and intentionality that went into his plan.

I like the idea of having a four year plan....but, I think there ought to be some things that get covered in some way every year. Due to transfers, change in schedules, going away from the Lord, etc, etc, there are some students you will have only one year. What should they hear?

Here's five topics I tried to cover each year in my speaking....some were once....others were in a series...some were in a seminar at Back-2-School Retreat, etc.

-Spiritual Gifts

-Healthy Relationships

-Getting Ready for Marriage

-Calling (Call to ministry, etc)

-Forgiveness and starting over

What's in your list? Do you have a one year and four year list?