Thursday, July 30, 2015

"10 Things Parents of a College Freshman Need to Know"

1. College is usually harder than high school and your son or daughter may study as hard or harder, but not make as good of grades as high school.

2. The friends and habits a student develops during the first 3 weeks often determine their whole college career. Make sure they understand the importance of starting right with a clear set of priorities. Students can shipwreck their college career and even their entire life during this time.

3. 7 out of 10 high school seniors active in church have no spiritual connections while in college. If this is a priority in your family, discuss how to make it part of the first 3 weeks. Many do not intentionally turn away from their faith; it just gets lost in the beginning with all the busyness.

4. Parents cannot see or receive their son or daughter's grades without a special signed form that can be obtained from the Registrar's Office. This is part of federal privacy laws.

5. Students who live in dorms tend to make better grades national studies show.
-It's all about being connected to college life and feeling like a student.

6. Students who are active in campus organizations are more likely to stay in school and graduate.
-Again, it is about being connected and feeling connected. Obviously, a campus ministry like the Baptist Collegiate Ministry is a huge plus.

7. National studies show students tend to marry someone they date! Really!!

8. You should know where your son or daughter lives at school and how to contact them there.....or how someone else could contact them (dorm and room number, apartment and number....not just cell).

9. The average is for students to change their major 3 to 4 times (that is why it is best to take required basics the first semester or two).

10. Psychologists say the two greatest times of change in a person's life are birth to age one and high school graduation to Christmas. That is why it is so important to stay connected and involved during this time.

Monday, July 27, 2015

10 Dumbest Mistakes College Ministers Make

10. Not defining success
-It is a combination of your employer's expectations and what gives you the most satisfaction. Both of these MUST be part of your plan for success.

9. Trying to make your students just like you
-This is such a subtle temptation we sometimes don't realize we are doing it. Are you limiting your ministry to those who want to be just like you?

8. Trying to go it alone
-Do you have a peer group that encourages, supports and cares what you do? All of us need someone other than our spouse who hears and encourages us.

7. Not loving college students
-College students sometimes act selfish, immature and disloyal. Can you still encourage the students who would not have made it as a freshman if it were not for you; but now don't have time for you or your ministry?

6. Not realizing God's kingdom is bigger than you and your ministry
-Do you think about what is best for college ministry as a whole or just yours? No one ministry fits all students.

5. Not relating to university officials in a positive way
-It is amazing how many doors college administrators can open or close for you and your ministry. Help them know you and know you are a positive partner.

4. Not playing to your strengths
-It is easy to coast on our strengths. Make sure you are giving adequate time and preparation to do what you do well as well as you can.

3. Not learning from those with whom you disagree
-You may disagree with the theology or methodology of another college ministry, but there may be something you should/could learn from them. Thinking inside the same boxes results in recycling the same thoughts and ideas.

2. Not writing personal thank you notes
-People give to and support those ministries that they know need, appreciate, and use their help or financial support. "Thanks for your gift, it helped us do ...........

1. Not using volunteers
-A leader of a large church college ministry had 1200 students at his weekly event. He had 185 adult volunteers If you divide that out, that is about 7 students per adult volunteer.

Coming Late Summer: "The 10 Commandments of College Ministry".....a Kindle E Book

Thursday, July 23, 2015

5 Reasons Older College Ministers Lead Larger College Ministries

It is my observation that in many cases (not all) that older College Ministers lead the larger campus based college ministries. I think this is also tends to be true in church based college ministries, maybe to a lesser degree. Often, I think there is the feeling that they have just fallen into this and it is just happenstance. If you think that, you are missing the reality. Plus, I think there are things we can learn from these larger older College Minister led ministries that will benefit each of us.

1. They have built up trust with partners.

They have supporting individuals and churches that know them, trust them, and even send students to them. They and their ministry are a known quantity. Nothing replaces trust. When trust is not there.....nothing else much matters. There are two parts to this....being known first and then being trusted. This is huge with individual donors. No matter how new or young you are in college ministry, you can work at being known by your partners. Your partners are whomever supports or makes your ministry possible. Just doing your work is not enough. Trust comes after they know you. First, they have to know you.

2. Ability to recruit top staff

When someone is known and trusted, that word gets around. People want to work for someone like that. But, there is a network that recommends people. That network also just has a wider awareness of who is out there. The larger college ministries have top staff and part of the reason they do is these older College Ministers are not afraid to recruit people brighter and smarter than they are. Age and experience brings a level of security that gives a freedom in recruiting top people. Also, these College Ministers have and express a desire to help younger college ministers succeed. The church based College Minister has to recruit top volunteers out of the church to invest in and mentor college students, teach classes and serve as adopting families.

3. Ability to mentor and train staff and student leaders

These College Ministers realize one of their main responsibilities is to train, mentor and encourage their staff
and leaders. They take that responsibility seriously and are intentional about doing it. One Head College Football Coach said his job was to coach the coaches and they coached players. Staff, student leaders and volunteers must be trained to be successful in their roles.

4. An on-going tradition of a strong ministry and a recognition on campus

Excellence breeds excellence. These College Ministers don't make wholesale changes each year. They tend to tweak
what they do. Students and others know what to expect from the ministry. Student leaders have seen it done before. There is a general awareness of the ministry on campus and a positive feel about it, even by those who don't attend or connect to it.

5. Relationships to administration

This one particularly applies to campus based ministries. Long term College Ministers can develop a personal and
even peer relationship to administrators in high positions. Again, trust is a factor here. They have learned they can trust this person. He or she will not do something improper or outside the boundaries. These administrators come to see this person as a co-worker. They have the keys to they campus and they can open or close doors for the ministry. When there is a long term earned trust relationship, they often open doors....even surprising big time doors.

What can all of us in college ministry learn from these long time pros?

1. Work at building trust relationships

2. Invest in developing others.

3. Figure out the best way to do our ministry and keep tweaking it for better....not just changing every year and copying the next new thing or the big ministry down the road.

4. Commit to being where you are for the long term until the Lord leads you away rather than looking for somewhere to jump when you have those tough years....we all have them. Some wisecracker once said, "The grass is always greener over the septic tank."

Monday, July 20, 2015

Lloyd Lunceford: A View from 40 Years of College Ministry

In the fall of 1970, my parents took me to begin my freshman year at Delta State College. When I say "they took me," I mean that literally. No car and launching on an experience that changed my life.

One of the first and best decisions I ever made was to check out the Baptist Student Union. Jimmy Breland had already been serving as BSU Director for twenty years when I arrived. I had grown up in a small church and committed to follow Christ vocationally at the age of 15, my pastor said, "Since you are going into ministry, you will either preach or lead singing." The next Sunday night, Thry let me preach and immediately decided, "You must be a singer!"

I thank God daily for the ministry of Jimmy Breland. He saw enough in me to encourage me to seek God on committing my life to helping college students to "KNOW Christ, AND MAKE HIM KNOWN!". He gave me chances as a student to lead, gave me an opportunity to serve as a graduate assistant during my master's study, and hired me as an assistant the year following my graduate work at Delta State. I owe my life's work and opportunity to his trust in me. It is hard to believe I have completed more than 40 years of working with students. Here are a few things I have learned (maybe I should say am learning) during these years.

1. People matter more than programs.

I often stop and remind myself that I once was a freshman from Alligator, MS, stepping onto the college campus for the first time. Investing in these new students personally is the strength of how God used me during these many years. It has not always been easy, but the rewards have been great.

2. My world is not nearly as big as I thought it was.

BSU gave me the opportunity to see the world through God's eyes. I love to tell students that the sun never sets on the BSU at Southern Miss, my home for the past 25 years. God has used me to introduce thousands of students to more than 40 nations. Before coming to USM, I was an IMB missionary in Taiwan where I learned to communicate in Mandarin Chinese. God has used this gift from here daily on our campus, BUT most of all he has kept my heart fresh for introducing more than 1,000 students to opportunities to take the gospel to the largest nation on earth.

3. BSU is not a para-church organization.

Mississippi Baptists have given me the opportunity to lead students to love, serve, and connect with the church. I find myself reminding our church folks that we ARE their college ministry whether they want us to be or not. My college days were were never a choice between BSU and the local church. My parents took me to church on Sunday night before they left me at Delta State. I will always remember my Dad tapping the couple in front of us at the end of the service and saying, "This is our son, LLoyd. He is yours for the next four years." Dad never minced his words. Peck and Carolyn McClelland became my parents at college for the next four years. This is who we are (or should be) as BSU.
The changes in society and church culture have made things more difficult, BUT, encouraging finding a place of service in the local church is a must for college students today.

Lloyd Lunceford serves as the BSU Director at Southern Mississppi University in Hattiesburg where he leads one of the strongest campus based college ministries in the south and is a model in sending students to the nations.

Coming Late Summer: "The 10 Commandments of College Ministry"....a Kindle E Book.

Monday, July 13, 2015

How to Meet with a Student One on One

We did a survey of all the students serving on our Ministry Teams. We listed 17 different events and ministries that our campus based ministry offered (weekly events, special events, etc) and asked them to rank them 1 to 17 in how they saw them in their value and importance. The overwhelming number 1 was our individual meetings with students. Some years ago, several people asked why so many students active in our ministry went into full time vocational ministry. My answer for a while was, "I don't's just a God thing".

I will still stick with at least the second part of that answer. But, as I thought through it, I came to believe is was our one on one regular meetings with our individual student leaders that was a significant factor. Not that we pushed students that way. But, I believe God is calling many college students to vocational ministry who either never hear the call or don't know how to process and work through it. That happens in those regular one to one meetings.

How We Did It/Not Perfect/Not the ONLY Way:

1. Each student leader was asked to list three different times during the week they could meet for an hour.
For the students I was meeting with, I worked out a schedule that best consolidated those meetings into block periods. I learned the hard way that if you just schedule them here and there, it keeps you from having block time to be out on campus, prepare, etc. I also told students if there were any days I did not do meetings (usually Wednesday which was our outreach Lunch Program day where prep started early and follow up, clean up lasted all afternoon and oh yeah, breathing).

2. At our first meeting I told them we would meet for one hour each week. The first half would be personal and the second half would relate to their responsibilities in leadership. Some who do one to one meetings have a set plan they work through with every student. For example, this week I will teach you about personal Bible study. I don't do that.We always met in a private place....usually my office. Student Center meetings get interrupted and don't lend themselves to being very personal.

3. First, we start with personal. Here are some questions I ask:
-What's going on in your life?
-Tell me about your family.
-What's your major and why?
-Do you date anyone regularly? Who? How long? Etc.
-What was your big main thing in high school?
-After becoming a Christian has there ever been a time you have gone away from the Lord?
I just really try to know them and encourage them. Obviously, we talk about the Lord and their questions,
struggles in the midst of all that.
-What are you doing personal Bible study devotional wise?
-What's going on at your church?

4. Then we talk about their leadership responsibilities.
-What is coming up in the next week or two you have to plan organize, etc?
-How do you need my help?
-What did your team do last week and how did it go?
-What can we learn from that success or failure? I believe it is especially important to help students learn from something that did not go well AND to understand it is often no one's fault or anything within their control.
-What do you need me to do?

5. We pray at the end. We usually take turns praying.
-What is something for you we need to pray about?
-Is there someone we need to pray for?

6. See you next week!

If for some reason, I could not be there for our weekly meeting, I tried to always let them know in advance. That told them it was important to me and that I respected their time.

It is not rocket science and this is not a perfect or magic formula. And it did not replace our weekly large group events or become the only thing we did. It is just one thing God used in a multi-faceted college ministry.

Coming Late Summer: The 10 Commandments of College new E-Book in the Kindle store.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Easy Banana Pudding Recipe for 25 to 30 Students by Sue Dickerson

This Bananna Pudding is great for a meal or for a snack with students before or after an event.

Use a large foil pan (Steam table size).


1 gallon vanilla pudding
1 Box Vanilla Wafers (Sam's box has several sacks inside - 1 sack per recipe)
1 bunch bananas (Sam's/approximately 3 pounds)
1 large carton Cool Whip (16 oz)

Mix Pudding and Cool Whip together in large bowl.

Layer in pan in this order:

1/2 package of vanilla wafers
1/2 of bananas - sliced over wafers
1/2 of the pudding mixture

Repeat the layers

Refrigerate before serving

Monday, July 6, 2015

How Do College Ministers Protect Themselves Legally?

Several years ago I went to a meeting where they told us not to hug students in order to protect ourselves legally. I continued to hug many need it. I said,"If you hear about me being in jail, you won't be surprised". It wasn't bad advice and I was very conscious of how and in what setting I hugged students. Some years ago we were building a new Baptist Student Center on the campus at Arkansas State. My office opened off of the secretary/receptionist office. Many students passed by my door in the offices as they used computers, copy machine, etc related to their leadership roles. It was suggested that my door should be all glass in the top half. I resisted that suggestion because students often need to talk about personal things and sometimes get very emotional in those times. I did not want them to feel they were on display to others. And, I did not want that to keep them from feeling they could talk to me about very personal and sometimes emotional issues. I understood the need to be wise. We settled on my door having a window on one side about 3 inches wide and running about the top half of the door.

We are foolish if we do not think we could be falsely accused of something that would tarnish our reputation, hurt our ministry, cause us to lose our job, or even be sued. I encourage you to think through some things. Here are some things to think about.

-Meeting with Students: Where or how can you meet privately, but be wise?

-Rooming with students on trips: Even if multiple students are sharing a room, is it better for you to have a private room?

-Consent forms: When should you have a signed consent form for a student under 21 to participate in a certain trip, activity, etc? It would seem missions trips (and especially foreign) would be the most likely. Should your form ask any and all medications the student is taking? Is there an emergency contact number for the student's parent or guardian?

-Background Checks: Should you have official backgrounds checks done on students who will be working with children on mission trips or in weekly activities?

-Use of pictures: Ok, here is the craziest one. I recently heard of a campus ministry who received a bill for $1200 for the use of a picture they had found on the Internet. It was a copyrighted picture. They had used it in one of their publications.

-Drivers: What information should you have on students who drive on trips?

I wish this post had answers. I don't know all the answers. And, I think part of it relates to how you feel you must do in order to do what God has called you to. My point is...don't do it without intentional forethought! Be wise and seek wise counsel.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Teaching/Encouraging Prayer with College Students

Do you teach your students to pray? I've been in different groups lately where the leader has asked, "Would someone pray for _______ right now"? And, no one volunteers. I was in a meeting of deacons some years ago where almost all said they were not comfortable being called on to pray at church without advance warning. I do realize that praying aloud in front of a group is different than praying silently or at home with your family. But, what does our discomfort with public prayer say about our praying?

One of my basic commitments in College Ministry is the weekly meeting with leaders. When I started this practice many years ago, I was startled to realize how many Christian student leaders in a College Ministry were unwilling or afraid to pray aloud with just me present. When we would reach the end of our hour long meeting, I began to say things like, "How are we going to pray, stand on the desk, take turns, sing, what?". Most would say, "You pray". But, after a few times, I would say, "I'll start and you finish.". Occasionally, I would come to the point of saying, "Someone is going to pray and it's not me.". By the end of the year almost all were comfortable praying out loud with others.

So, are you teaching and encouraging your students to pray? Do you assign or allow students to sign up for Prayer Partners to meet weekly? Do you ever have a time of prayer (not just a quick opening prayer) at your Leadership meeting? Do you ever speak on prayer? Do you ever have an extended prayer time at your large group meeting?

I often say in large and small groups, "Let's pray and if you want to pray out loud, please do and then in a few minutes, I will close it". Sometimes lots of people pray and sometimes I'm the only one who prays after a long silence.

So, are you teaching prayer in some way or just assuming everybody prays, knows how to pray, or is comfortable praying out loud with others!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Feeding 50 Students - Easy Recipe by Sue Dickerson

Through my years at Arkansas State my wife, Sue, ran our office and coordinated our weekly large group Outreach Lunch Program. Most of the time area churches did the meal, but sometimes when we did not have a church to do it, she would prepare for 200 plus students. Also, we would occasionally have special event dinners or Appreciation Luncheons for the church folks that served the Lunch Programs. Over the next few weeks, I will share some of her recipes for 50. You can multiply it out where you need to. Put it in your never know when you might need it.

Spaghetti for 50

10 lbs. Lean ground beef
2 or 3 teaspoons oregano
2 or 3 chopped onions (or use onion flakes)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
10 large jars or cans (26 oz) Spaghetti Sauce
3 1/2 lbs. Thin spaghetti
2 large cans (28 oz) tomatoes cut up
2 large cans (16 oz) mushrooms

Brown meat with onion in skillet. Drain in colander and put in large heavy pot or pots. Add sauce, mushrooms, tomatoes, and spices. (This can be prepared the day before and refrigerated.). Over low heat stir frequently for 20 to 30 minutes. Cook spaghetti in boiling water, drain in large colander and rinse in clear water. Mix sauce and spaghetti together in large pans. You can cover pans with foil and place in low (200 degree) oven.