Monday, October 19, 2015

The 2 Most Deadly and Quickest Killers of College Ministries

As listed in my previous Blog, I believe there are several things that will kill either a campus based or church based College Ministry. Some are slow killers and others can be almost instant. But, there are two I believe are the most deadly and I don't think you can rank one over the other as they are very different.


This one can be either instant or slow. There are many reasons that continual turnover is destructive to the ministry.
-Some students always disappear when there is a change in leadership. They were drawn to the previous leader and that relationship is no longer there.
-Due to some circumstances in their own life, they are not there when the new leadership takes over and no one misses them and re-enlists them. Or, they sense no one cares that they are not there.
-Sometimes a new leader brings a completely different philosophy or approach to the ministry and previous students are not comfortable or don't feel they fit with the new approach.
-A new leader may attract a different or new set of students and those previously involved feel left out or that they don't fit with the newer students.

So, what do we do with this issue? The answer is complicated because many things go into causing the problem. First, frequent turnover often comes due to a lack of support to the College Minister or the ministry as a whole. The salary may be minimal and people quickly move on just to survive financially. Or, they feel no one cares about it but them..,there is no emotional support. A growing issue is additional duties being added to College Minister job descriptions that make it feel impossible to do what is being asked.

Another factor is that College Ministers must realize that it usually takes three years for a College Ministry to begin to operate at full force. Simply put, that is three years of students coming into the ministry under the same philosophy, expectations, and leadership relationships. So, a College Minister, when possible, needs to make a long term commitment to that ministry. That means suffering through the hard building days and not assuming the grass is always greener in a new position.

Outside the College Minister's scope, those who provide the position must see the need for a livable salary that provides for a family and a job description thatnis do-able and attractive to someone who is called to College Ministry.


This one can be instant when others become aware of it. They simply see the ministry as a sham and they want nothing to do with it or don't want others to think that ministry represents who they are. First, please hear me, this is not a call for continual snooping or spying on leaders to insure their perfection. They are not perfect. But,the
issue is when there is a continual pattern of inappropriate behavior by people seen as being leaders.

-First, I think there must be clear expectations communicated to potential leaders of what the standards are. This can be done in interviews and with a signed covenant.
-When the leader becomes aware of inappropriate behavior, those students must be talked
with individually....and respectfully...not in an accusatory manner.
-Remember, there are false accusations made and there are one time mistakes made by the finest of students.
This comes to the point where you must sometimes accept the word of a student that the accusation or appearance of wrong doing is false or mis-understood by others. And,
sometimes you extend grace and a second chance even when it is as it appeared.

Several years ago, I became aware of continual mis-behavior by several students in our ministry, I confronted the issue and immediately the attendance at our large group
meeting dropped by half! Students who were involved in the inappropriate actions immediately stopped attending as well as friends of theirs. I was shell shocked, but felt I had done the right thing. But, I did not realize how heavy the price of my actions would be.

Then a crazy thing began to happen, attendance at our meeting began to grow and went
back to where it had been. First, there were new students coming who had been turned off to our ministry due to the behavior they had seen in several. They just assumed that represented our ministry. Not only had I not realized what was happening, but that it was affecting our ministry overall. Students on campus know what the reputation of your
ministry is..... when you do not! Then, some who had been involved in the mis-behavior came back with a new spirit and understanding of Christian actions and responsibilities.

I cannot promise if you take a moral stand and students leave that it will quickly grow back......but, I can promise you it is possible.

Is there something standing in the way of your ministry being what God wants it to be?

1 comment:

  1. We've seen college ministries go from several hundred to nonexistent on our campus in 4 years because of those things. So true.