Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The College Ministry Lid.....More Possibilities.....and The Awkward Question

In a recent Blog, I wrote about the lid that is keeping your ministry from reaching any more students then it does currently. The point was to identify what your primary lid is and then to begin to address it. That does not mean your ministry will suddenly double in size. Usually, a lid is there because it is a tough or complicated issue. While identifying it is huge, that doesn't mean that a fix is obvious or quick. It might be a long process.

But, equally important as you address the lid that has closed your ministry at it's current level, I believe you must identify your strength or unique point of your ministry and ask yourself, if it is being utilized to the fullest. What is the main reason students come to your ministry and continue to come? What is it your ministry is really doing well.....not in your eyes.....but, in the eyes of the students. You might be surprised that their view of the ministry strength or uniqueness might not be the same as yours. Being clear about your strength is important in that in addressing your lid, you do not inadvertently make changes destructive to the very strength of your ministry.

Is it possible your lid and your strength might be the same? In a few instances the answer is yes. The strength of a ministry might be it's very small and personal nature. It might be the great amount of time the College Minister gives to each student individually. It is at this point that the decision needs to be made. Is this the ministry that we want to be? That decision has to be made honestly by each ministry. Some would say genuinely, this is what we are here to do.

Or is the lid the students you are currently reaching? This is a tough issue. I believe God loves all of us personally and uniquely and we don't have to be the "In crowd" to be loved by God and worth of ministry. If your ministry is intentionally to "the forgotten" and that is your calling, bless you and keep on. But, it might be the ministry has developed an unhealthy "our club mentality". The "our club mentality" is the idea that this is exclusively for us or those just like us and so everyone else is "UN-invited". If that is the case, you must decide if you are willing to make changes that may cause you to lose many of students currently reached. That is a painful and slow process. In trying to reach more students....your ministry might decline. Wow!

Some lid adjustments can be fairly quick (such as moving to a larger meeting space) but many are slow and painstaking. In making changes in a ministry,there is always the consideration of timing. When is the right time to make this adjustment. It might be a decision you make now, but the implementation will not come until next summer or fall....or at the start of next semester.

Here is the awkward question: What if YOU are the lid? I don't mean you are incompetent or students don't want to be around you. All of us have students who are attracted to us and students who are not impressed with us. No
one is the all encompassing college ministry magnet. Name the most famous College Minister you know avout and there are those who don't respond to them. But, in considering our lid, we may decide that it calls for a change in how we spend our time. It may not call for a change of schedule or meeting place, etc. It may mean that personally we have not been doing the things that are most productive. We may be spending too much time with too few students. Or, we may not be modeling the very things we are expecting from our students.

A NOTE OF CAUTION: Never make wholesale changes in your ministry without your supervisor or key stake holders being bought in or at least aware of what you are doing and why.

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