Monday, September 21, 2015

Why I HATE Weekly Large Group Collegiate Events!

I don't....I LOVE weekly large group Collegiate events! My recent blog "Has the Day of Weekly Large Group Worship Events Passed?" was interpreted by some as I was opposed to them. I think they just read the title. My point was everyone has to decide what is best and true for their campus situation.

My key mentor in college ministry was Dr. Tom Logue, who was State BCM Director for Arkansas for many years and hired me. A story is told about Tom where a pastor came to Tom to recommend his Youth Minister to Tom to hire as a BCM Director. He told Tom, "He is great with small groups.". As the story goes Tom responded, "I have lots of Directors who are great with small groups; I need some who are great with large groups!"

An argument for small groups is personal discipleship...not just sit and soak large group events. I get that and agree. BUT, I also believe that large group events provide some things small groups do not. Sometimes....SOMETIMES, large group events don't work well, because the time and effort is not put into them to make them worth attending. One reason they often don't work well is they seem to be a vehicle to promote or put the spotlight on the college is a vanity event. Not everyone that is called to the ministry is equipped to be a spotlight speaker.

A second reason large group events often fail is they are a copy of someone else's event. It is not your event. One of my key beliefs in College Ministry is we must play to our strengths. That is true of our personal strengths AND our ministry's strengths and personality. Every campus has a personality and every ministry has a personality and those all go into what makes a large group event work or fail.

A while back, I heard about a ministry that had Hot Dogs and Root Beer each week before their event. They have a large crowd. That's it...that's the secret....No...that was just part of their doing their event with their personality, doing it their way. Your large group event might contain testimonies, drama sketches, mixers, a brief talk by a guest or one of your leaders and then turn around into discussion groups some weeks. Or, it might have a different guest speaker each week. Students can be the "star" not the College Minister. I know of college ministries who have had one of their students be the regular speaker each week. That's a little scary to me, but it works for them! Doing it differently takes more planning than having thirty minutes of music and then a talk by the College Minister.

But, the time you might spend preparing to speak can be put into planning and asking students to do different things. In many ways we communicate that to be a good Christian is to come, sit, and watch. Are you communicating that? Remember, your event can have students doing lots of things and you speaking. It doesn't have to be a choice. I have always believed that each large group collegiate event should have different parts that might appeal to and speak to different people. I'm ok with a student testimony being the memorable thing at a large group event where I speak. One of the best things we do is equip, enable and train students to be up front.

I don't hate large group collegiate events...I hate poorly done ones! AND, a group does not have to be LARGE to be a working large group event. I have never had as many students at an event as I wanted, but lots of them God worked in and through them.

Looking for basics in College Ministry? Check out my brief book, "10 Commandments of College Ministry" that is a Kindle E Book.

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