Thursday, September 29, 2016

What's the Lid for Your College Ministry?

A lid is defined as, "a removable or hinged cover for closing the opening...". The lid for a ministry is where it just will not reach more students or grow further. The lid is closed. All ministries have a lid. Your ministry may not have reached it's lid yet or you may be comfortable with your lid. Or, you may have come to the point of saying, "Why are we not reaching or keeping more students involved with our ministry?".

If you are in that last category, have you identified your lid? Think about it; what is the lid that has the opening of your ministry closed tight at a certain point? What determines your lid?

Here are some common lids:

This is likely the most common lid. You simply have grown to the max that your meeting space will hold or that your students are willing to crowd any further.

You already are using all the creativity you have to keep going on your limited budget. You just can't afford to feed any more. Or, you can't afford to do mail outs. Maybe you can't afford an administrative assistant to do tasks that keep you from having time to connect with students or meet with your leaders one on one.

Most really large campus based ministries have really large staffs (10-20). Large church based ministries tend to offset that some by some of what churches can provide in other ways. Students need to talk to someone. Who does the individual discipleship? Who does the crisis counseling? Who is meeting with and developing multiple student leaders?

Vision or lack of vision is a lid. Are you just happy with the number you are reaching? Or are your student leaders happy with where the ministry is? Or, has it even occurred to them to think bigger? All they know is what they have seen.

There are only X number of Discipleship Groups. They can only hold a certain number. Or, there are only X amount of places for leaders and therefore other potential student leaders leave the ministry to look for other opportunities. Is your current organization structure forming your lid?

What other ministries do can affect what you are able to do. You may suffer by comparison or another may foul the waters for everyone. This is possibly the toughest one to address.

So, what is the point? If we have reached our lid and we can identify the lid, we may be able to do something about it. Do you need to focus on raising your budget? If you raised your budget, could you hire additional ministry people or admin help that would free you to do other things? Should you experiment with meeting somewhere else? Should you add another Discipleship Group or two? Or, should a new D Group meet at a different time? If comparison to another booming ministry is hurting you, have you identified what the unique strength of your ministry is and leaned into it?

If the lid is insolvable, is there a detour around it? Could changing or improving something else minimize the effect of the lid?

The hardest place to see and understand is often our own situation. Three suggestions:

1. Enlist three or four ministry people you trust apart from your ministry to analyze and brainstorm with you. They need some distance to see things from a different perspective. Could they give you a full or half day at some point?

2. Take two or three days totally away from all of it by yourself to think, pray, and consider options and solutions.

3. Take 5 or more than 10 students away for a full day of thinking, praying and brainstorming. The group needs to be big enough to see and think different ideas, but small enough that it doesn't take forever to talk about something. They also can't be shy or reluctant to speak up.

What's your ministry lid? Have you addressed it? Or, have you helped others to see what the lid is?

The first step is to honestly identify your lid.

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