Friday, December 11, 2015

What Are The Non-Negotiables for Your College Ministry?

There are so many things we are asked to do and just things that come our way each day we can lose the main thing. Have you thought about what your non-Negotiables are? Another way to say it might be, what are the basics and these things must happen?

Some years ago after refusing to do so prevously, we made the decision to enter one of our students in the Homecoming Queen and Court voting. She was selected to the was the first time a religious group nominee had been selected to the court. It was amazing the positive doors it opened for our ministry with the school and opportunities it provided. However, along with that came the invitations to enter the barbecue competition, the Greek Bowling Tournament, etc, etc. None of these were bad things, but it was easy to see the requests and "opportunities" could be overwhelming. I was reminded of the freshman girl who told me that her mom said when she came to college, "Remember to keep the main thing the main thing.". It was at that point I realized the importance of articulating your non-Negotiables and working to be true to them.

Some of my Non-Negotiables:

1. We are a Christian ministry.....not a campus club. Be true to the Gospel.
There are a ton of things we can do that are good, wholesome, and healthy....but they are not the main thing we are here to do.

2. Enlist and train student leaders.
The day we stop keeping that central we have begun the end of our ministry.

3. Try to reach a variety of students.
There are all kinds of students here....we are trying to reach all kinds.

4. Tweak...don't strafe and burn.
Some ministries seem to start over every year. There are no constants. I believe that is damaging to your purpose as well as to students simply knowing what to expect. Till we get it perfect, there are always things that need adjusting and cleaning up. But, we don't start over every year.

5. Be grateful...write thank You's.
Never take for granted those who help you and support you. Some thank You's need to be written daily and some at the end of the year. If you don't know where you and your ministry would be without _________. Then, somebody needs to be thanked and know you are grateful and that what they do matters.

6. Meet one on one with student leaders.
It's part of developing and training leaders. It's part of teaching them to walk with the Lord. It's is one of the ways God will speak to their life.

7. Talk about forgiveness often when I speak.
Many Christian students do something contrary to their commitments and "raising" when they come to college. As a result, they often feel God is done with them or that they now can only be second class followers.

8. Expose students to some of the best.
Early in my Christian walk, it seemed to me that Christian leaders were often not the sharpest and most competent. That was one of the great "Oh-boys" when I went to college and met Christian students and particularly Christian leaders and speakers who were tops. From my earliest years in College Ministry, it has been a goal of mine to expose students to some of the best.

9. Stress excellence!
"That's good enough for government work." is an old saying....through the years, I have felt like for some the idea was, "That's good enough for church work.". If we represent and point students to the one who created the universe, second, third best, and shoddy does not represent Him well. My students sometimes rolled their eyes that for our
Outreach Lunch Program, the forks went on the folded napkin on the left; the knives went on the right of the plate....thrown on the table was not ok. Excellence is not just about big things, it is how we do everything.

But, these are mine; what are yours? If you had to write down right now what your non-Negotiables are, what would you list? Are you letting other things....even good things....squeeze out the non-Negotiables?

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