Monday, May 4, 2015

The Seasons of a College Minister - The Starter or Near Peer

Dr. Jeff Iorg, President of Golden Gate Seminary, spoke at the National Collegiate Ministries Summit about, "The Seasons of a Leader's Life" which is the title of his new book. As always, he did an excellent job. Iorg says there are three seasons: Learning, Leading and Leaving a Legacy.

I developed some years ago what I called "The Seasons of a Collegiate Minister's Ministry". Through the years I have shared them with different Collegiate Ministry Workshops and groups. Since the school year has ended or is about to end, it is usually a time of ministry and personal evaluation. I hope this will be helpful on the personal side. Here is my take on the different "Seasons".

4 General Thoughts in Regard to the 4 Seasons:

1. Our age and experience will and must affect how we do College Ministry.

2. No one season is the best season.

3. Each season has strengths and weaknesses.

4. We must be honest about our season and play to the strengths, as well as, address the weaknesses.

The Starter or Near Peer

This season is where the College Minister is both young in age and experience. Often, due to lack of experience this is the time that our ministry is focused around relationships. It has sometimes been called, "The Ministry of Hanging Out". This person often functions like an older brother or sister.

Strengths of the Starter:

1. It is possible to affect a few deeply as this College Minister will very often live right in their midst and these students see his or her deep commitment and learn from them as a role model.

2. The Starter can often start a ministry from scratch because they have great energy and optimism. Don't know it can't be done.

3. It is easy for them to operate in the student world as they look like one of them. An older College Minister might draw looks or questions, but The Starter looks like everyone else on campus.

4. The Starter brings a variety of new ideas as he or she has not developed a full blown philosophy of College Ministry and are more open to whatever develops.

Weaknesses of the Starter:

1. The ministry is often limited to one circle of friends or students who fit with that circle. For a student to come into that ministry they have to be comfortable with that group.

2. It easy to have blow-ups or disruptions due to the strong relational aspect (one boyfriend/girlfriend breakup can be disastrous).

3. University officials and older church staff members tend to not see the Starter as a professional and treat him or her as such.

4. Just as it is a strength in communication to see things from a young viewpoint, it may be that the Starter has a difficult time separating themselves from current student trends in viewpoint, etc.

Tasks of a Starter:

1. Look at different ministries and begin to establish your own philosophy of College Ministry.

2. Listen to and learn from experienced colleagues.

3. Find a mentor to teach, develop and nurture you in College Ministry.

Next: The Role Model

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