Sunday, October 23, 2016

The 5 Core Skills of a College Minister??

One of the great opportunities and fun things I have gotten to do for the last several years is teach an annual seminar for new College Ministers. Sometimes, we have eight or ten and others years we will have as many as thirty-five, as we did this past August. When we started doing it, we had seven hours. In recent years to fit a total program schedule, it has been squeezed to three hours. So, I've thought, what if I had to say in a few words or phrases, this is what a College Minister must do and do with some level of proficiency?

Here is my first swing at "The Five Core Skills of a College Minister":

Relationships are the currency of our ministry. All College Ministers do not have to be extroverts, but must give priority to relating to a wide variety of students. And, some of our most significant investments will be in one to one conversations and on-going relationships. Evangelism and Discipleship take place within this skill set.

The multiplier in a college ministry is student leaders who multiply a College Minister's time, increase the outreach of the ministry, and bring a wide variety of gifts to the ministry. So, an effective College Minister must be looking for leader types and developing leaders. If a ministry has a student worship band, it is a constant to be looking for and develoing students who can be effective worship leaders. It is also part of our task to be building these students up for future service in local churches.

I almost want to put an asterisk by this one. Because, most will see this as the effective College Minister must be a great preacher. It is a much larger skill than that. I am concerned that too much emphasis is being given to simply preaching to students in recent days. There are great and effective College Minisrers who are not great speakers and do not speak at their events. The larger and even more necessary skill is to communicate a vision for the ministry. This must be communicated to students, stakeholders, and financial donors. It is, "This is where we are going; come be a part of it!".

There are more things that need doing than can be done in one ministry. Someone has to say this is what we will do and this what we will not do. And, the College Minister cannot continually be looking back and questioning many choices that have to be made. Passion does not determine effectiveness. There has to be a plan.

By this I mean, the effective College Minister must be willing to function in the midst of a diverse campus environment and allow student leaders to serve in ways a bit different then he/she would. Sometimes, it will mean working with other Christian groups or ministries which are different and do not hold identical theological views. It does not mean endorsing everything or thinking anything is ok. But, it does mean that everything does not have to be perfect or done as we would do it for our being able to function in the midst of it.

What's your thoughts on the necessary core skills of an effective College Minister? I would love to hear from you...either by a private message or your comments here. I do not see this as my final list and would love to have your participation in defining the necessary core skills. This would benefit not just new College Ministers but all of us who want to do even more effectively what God has called us to do.

1 comment:

  1. Arliss, I'm still all for centers for campus ministry. The one at Delta State University, where I served for 40 years, is still well used.