Monday, January 25, 2016

Maximizing Hot Spots and Dead Spots in College Ministry

Maximizing Hot Spots and Dead Spots is one of the "12 Qualities of Super Effective College Ministers" (see my January 22 post). So, what does that mean and how do you do it?

Hot Spots and Dead spots refers to two things. First, it points to those times in the campus calendar. An obvious Hot Spot is the first three weeks of the fall semester when students are more reachable and available than at any other point. A dead spot is Thanksgiving to the start of Spring Semester.

The second thing the term Hot Spots and Dead Spots refers to are places on campus where students are available and easy to connect with in a very non-threatening way. One of the things that makes us more effective in our ministry is to identify these spots.

Campus Hot Spots:

I stumbled into my awareness of this idea many years ago. There was a University Post Office located directly in the center of our campus. One day I went to the Post Office at 9:00 a.m. and ran into some students I knew and they began to introduce me to others. It wound up with me standing there talking students for thirty minutes. I walked to the Student Center and came back to the Post Office at 10:00 and the almost identical thing happened. I began to make it a habit to go different days at 9:00 or 10:00 or both. One day one of my students was standing out front of the Post Office handing out his campaign material for Student Senate President. I asked, "What are you doing?". He said, "I'm just doing what I have seen you do and it works."

In these days of email, cell phones and Facebook, you could die a lonely death standing out in front of a campus Post Office! But, there are places that work that way. My favorite is the cafeteria. I must confess to eating two or three lunches as I connected to two or three different tables full of students. Where on your campus are the Hot Spots and what are the max times to be there? It can be coffee shops, work out centers, etc. A Hot Spot is both a specific place AND a specific time. Have you identified yours?

Campus Calendar Hot Spots and Dead Spots:

I often have referred to these as "Seasons" on campus. The first three weeks of the Fall Semester is not when you want to be contacting alumni. Necessary work like that fits great in the Dead Spots.

I have also learned that certain days of the week or times of the day are Dead Spots and so there are "non-student tasks" I plan to do at these times. On our Campus Friday is usually a Dead Spot. For me, that spells paper work and administration. Friday is "Clean off my Desk Day".

Have you identified and maximized your Hot Spots and Dead Spots? Every campus is different and sometimes, even each semester is different. Know your spots and times!

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