Tuesday, November 11, 2014

10 Myths in and Around College Ministry

Someone once said, "If you shout a lie loud enough and long enough, people will believe it". A lot of these statements are like that. Maybe you have heard them a lot...so, maybe they are true. Here's my take on some of these "less than truths" that those of us in College Ministry either hear or may be guilty of saying.

1. That's ALWAYS true in College Ministry.

-College students change; campus situations change....there is not much that is always true, apart from the Gospel and the need for College Ministry. When we quit flexing and learning in College Ministry, we and our ministry are in trouble.

2. Confronting students is a bad idea. They are volunteers and you want them there.

-I certainly don't think you go around looking for ways to make your students mad. But, I do think that one of our roles in loving and teaching students is sometimes to confront them. Particularly, I am speaking of those students in responsibility roles with whom you work closely and have a personal relationship. It has been my experience that when you confront students that know you love them, the final outcome is almost always positive....notice, I said most of the time.

3. If I just had enough money this ministry would boom.

-Money doesn't make a ministry....it's hard to have a ministry without money but money doesn't make a ministry. Money is not a shortcut. It doesn't substitute for relationships. It doesn't substitute for the wise investment of your time and years. God is not limited to move only in ministries with large budgets. I've done College Ministry with and without much money. Having money is better, but my ministry wasn't suddenly ten times better. It sometimes even brings added pressure!

4. Nobody cares about this ministry but me.

-Sometimes that is true. But, most of the time, it is not. Work at separating fact
from your feelings on those frustrating days. If no one cares, are you doing what you
should to communicate your vision, what God is doing, and how others could be a part?

5. College Ministers have the summer off.

-I have heard that one different times. My personal response usually went something like
this, "It often feels like it, because I only work 8 or 9 hours a day in the summer".
But, sometimes that idea comes across because people can't find you. If you have a
Center or office, are there times people know they can find you? If someone drops by to
see see you, is there someone who can tell them where you are? Or, is there a note on
the door telling where you have gone or at least when you will be back? You may be out
connecting with supporters, visiting churches of incoming students, etc. Let me share my least favorite phone response of an Administrative Assistant, "He has not made it in
yet.". No; the answer is, "He/she is not here at the moment, could I take a message?".
Ask yourself, Am I doing what needs to be done in the summer...as well as, taking some
deserved rest? Good falls are made in the summer.

6. Real College Ministers Stay in a hotel room with their students. (Many of you would say, "No; I sleep on a gym floor with them".)

-I functioned on this one for many years. Until, it finally dawned on me, it was ok for me to have a room by myself. A Methodist Campus Minister friend even raised a point I had not
even thought of....that way you can never be falsely accused of something inappropriate when rooming with students.

7. College Ministry is only for the young.

-Since I'm semi-old, this is one of my least favorite. I believe that God uses people
of all ages and college students need people of all ages. They have buddies. They need
someone to speak love, care and Gospel into their lives. They want and need people who
have been down roads they have yet to go down. You don't have to play basketball with
them to be a great College College Minister.

8. Nothing beats a big crowd.

-This myth still tempts me. I like big crowds. But, there is more to College Ministry
than a big crowd. Beware of doing just something that will draw a crowd. Realize even
some things are better with a small crowd. Also, don't beat yourself up because your
last crowd wasn't huge. Someone asked me after an event once, "Did you have as many
attend as you hoped?". I said, "I've never had as many as I hoped at anything.". But,
I really do know a crowd is not everything. Really, I do. Do you?

9. A good College Minister knows every student's story and their needs.

-Your ministry may be too large for that. But, there is a half truth here. Someone needs to know every student's story and their needs, if they come with any degree of regularity. But, it may be one of your student leaders. Maybe, if you know every student's story, you are limiting yourself to too few students.

10. If you are really sharp, someday, you will have your own church.

-I've heard this one different times. It would usually come after I had spoken at a church and done at least half way decent and someone would come up to me and say, "You are good enough to have your own church". Thats like saying, "College Ministers really are not sharp". Or, "You just do College Ministry until the right church comes along". You just need to translate it. They are saying you did a good job....and...remember, College Ministry is the high calling! If God called you to College Ministry, don't stoop to be the pastor of a 10,000 person church.

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