Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"I've Worked my 40 Hours."

A friend tells of a ministry staffer of his explaining why he was not with some volunteers one night, "I've worked my 40 hours.".
He wanted to be home with his family and had done his job. First, if those of us in College any ministry think it is a 40 hour a week job, we are badly mis-led. Of course, I hear of College Ministers working 50, 60, 70 hours per week.

There is a story of one campus based College Minister, who to supplement his income, had begun to sell a product in one of the multi-level market programs and had multiple people under him. He got to the point he was driving a very expensive car and word was he was spending more time on it than his ministry. His supervisor told him he had to work "at least 40 hours a week". He quit.

I have confessed in a previous blog that I think I did not do right by my family in some times I worked and did not take some vacation time, etc. So, what is the right work/family/off time balance?

There is not a magic formula. But, if 40 hours is your limit, College Ministry is not for you! Another part of that is a College Minister spouse understanding that. A while back a friend who leads a very large College ministry was about to get married. He said to me, "What does she need to know?". He serves on a church staff and I said, "Have her talk to some of the other staff wives, so she will know some of what to expect.". A campus based College Minister shared with me the tension in his marriage due to his wife's expectation that he should be home at 5:00 every day. That just does not happen.

Some things to Consider, Understand, or Try:

-Work when you need to work, but make sure that some of those crazy times or hours is not due to your own sense of "nothing can happen without me.".

-When the college schedule is slower, you be slower.

-Realize lots of people (not in ministry) work more than 40 hours a week.

-When you have night obligations, schedule to go home at some point in the afternoon and then go to your night event. My daughters laugh at all the early times we had family supper and then I would go back to the campus. But, we had family supper.

-Don't expect volunteers to be somewhere or do something you are not willing to do. They have jobs, school, or families too!

-Try to have one weekday night that NOTHING is ever scheduled. For me and us, that was Tuesdays. That makes calendar planning a little simpler.

-Get your super organized friend to help you look at your regular weekly schedule and see where you are not utilizing your time to the best advantage which causes more work hours.

-You never want students to feel you are too busy to talk to them. But, there is a difference in their needing to talk to you and your just hanging out with them till midnight all the time. You are not a student who doesn't have a class till 11:00 a.m.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Million Dollars for College Ministry by December 31!

One million dollars has a nice ring to it! If you work in College Ministry or if God used it in your life, the thought of one million dollars given to College Ministry by the end of the year is exciting and encouraging.

Who is this benefactor? Who is doing what we all wish we could do? Simple: it is you and me! Wait you say, obviously you have my bank account confused with someone elses. Here is the deal, if 40,000 of us give just $25 to the College Ministry that blessed us in college, that is $1 Million. That's's that simple. No one has to have won the lottery or sell their house. Give $25 and encourage others you know to do the same.

What ministry is promoting this or who benefits from this? That's up to you.....I am a BCM/BSU guy, so I will be giving to a BCM ministry that blessed me. But, you might have been part of a Cru ministry, Wesley, FCA, Chi Alpha, Student Mo, MBSF, or one that was just on your particular campus.

Spread the word. Share the hashtag #Givetwentyfive.

If you are a College Minister,

-Spread the word to your alums.

-Pass the word to other ministries on your campus....Givetwentyfive. Let's do all we can to benefit everyone!

-Make sure people know how they can give to your giving on line an option. Let people know how to do it.

If you are a College Ministry Alum,

-Just give $25 by check, cash or thru On-line Giving. Use the hashtag, #Givetwentyfive.

-Spread the word on social media....."A Million Dollars for College Ministry". #Givetwentyfive

-Be part of this national movement. It's not Baptist, Methodist, Assembly, or Non-Denominational. It is a movement to bless the college campuses of America.....and to encourage all those who do College Ministry!

Give $ is as simple as that.....and punch your old college roommate....they can do it too! #Givetwentyfive

Monday, November 21, 2016

12 Questions to Ask About Your College Ministry

1. If the big attracts and the small keeps, which do you do best? What needs improving?

2. Can a student do all of your ministry in one year....why should or will they come back next year?

3. If freshmen are the most available and open, how are you being freshmen intentional?

4. If a student wants to come to your large group event, how easy or hard is it to find and to know what to do?

5. What is the main reason students connect to your ministry?

6. What's the main reason students don't connect to your ministry?

7. What is the perception of your ministry by those outside of it? Why is that?

8. What is the strength of your ministry?

9. What is the weakness of your ministry?

10. What's the one thing you would do if your budget were larger? Do others know that?

11. Do your students hear about the gospel, forgiveness and calling?

12. Are you challenging your alums to give $25 by the end of the year? #Givetwentyfive

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Know Anyone Who Was Impacted by a BSU, BSM, BCM, or Other Baptist Ministry?

Wonder how many people have been impacted by BSU (or a Baptist ministry by another name) in the last fifty years? The number would be in the thousands and could even be in the millions. What if ALL of us gave $25 to that ministry by the end of this calendar year? I am not particularly good at math, but twenty-five times one million is $25 million. Or, 500,000 times $25 is a measly $12.5 million.

Many BSU's, BCM's or BSM's have experienced financial cut backs in recent years. Did you know that Virgina has recently told their BCM Campus Ministers that in the next year or two they must begin to raise part of their own salaries? That is in addition to money many already raise for their program budgets.

As church giving has declined, many local campus ministry budgets have seen cutbacks in what they receive. Some campuses that had multiple staff have lost associate positions. In this day of growing expenses and the loss of college young adults to the church and faith, many of our College Ministries are trying to do more with less.

The answer is pretty simple. If ALL of us who were impacted for good, came to know the Lord, met our spouse, would have QUIT college that first semester wihout the BSU, or served in a leadership role in a campus based BSU/BCM were to give just $25, the need would be met. Why $25? All of us can afford to give $25 some time between now and the end of the year. This is not a plea to the wealthy or that "one percent" we hear so much about. This is for ALL of us.

What if you challenged everyone who was in your Freshmen Bible study group to give $25? Or, what about all those guys who were on your Intramural football team? Remember how you did not know how you would have made it without that group? You can make sure that ministry can continue to do for others what was done for you.

If we all give $25, we can see a miracle in what is happening on college campuses.

Did you know....

-there were 10,632 salvations through BCM ministries this past school year?

-615,706 students reached?

-9,472 small group Bible study groups?

-4,469 students who served in Summer Missions?

The College Minister/BSU Director who meant so much to you may still be there. Or, it may be someone you do not know. But, receiving $25 from you will be a huge encouragement to them at the end of a long fall semester

Pass the word. Let's all #Givetwentyfive

Friday, November 11, 2016

Has the "Golden Age of College Ministry" Passed?

In the time since we stepped away from the ministry at Arkansas State, more than one person has said in one way or the other, "You left at the right time". Or, "You served in the Golden Age of College Ministry.". The message there is that it is or will be down hill from here.

Why do some people say the best days of College Ministry are over?

-Many campuses or even states such as California have taken a more negative view of campus based ministries and sometimes make it difficult or near impossible to function as a recognized student organization.

-Some state conventions within the Southern Baptist Convention have made major cuts in their College Ministry. Some have sold their Centers or reduced staff significantly. Another recently announced they were moving toward "partially funded positions" meaning that their Campus Ministers will soon be required to raise a part of their salary.

-Giving to local churches is on the decline as the Boomer Generation is beginning to pass from the scene. So, cuts driven by finances are being made in many areas with more to come.

-There is disagreement in some quarters as to whether the best way to do College Ministry is with a campus based student organization or with a campus based church plant.

-College students are more suspicious of organized religion and the number of "spiritual not religious" continues to grow.

Several years ago Calvin Miller, the great Christian writer and speaker, and I were driving from one campus to another and he was talking about whether he would leave the large church he had planted to become a Seminary Professor. His words were golden to me. He said, "I'm trying to decide if I am at the end of a book or just at the end of a chapter.". He went on to say, if it were the end of the book, he would go to the seminary role. If it were the end of a chapter, he would begin some new and different things at the church. I have never let go of that statement. He went on to say that we often mistake the end of a chapter for the end of the book.

I believe College Ministry has come to the end of a chapter. It is time to do some new things and think some new thoughts. It is not the end of the book. But, we can't let go of some basic principles and that is part of our confusion. Which are methods and which are principles?

-Many College Ministries are larger than they have ever been.

-A few are even building new and larger campus based Centers.

Some suggest that we should leave the larger flagship campuses where there are multiple ministries and go to the smaller commuter campuses where often no ministries exist. While I am all about reaching campuses no one is touching, I recoil at the idea of leaving the "Influencer Campuses". I believe that's not wise strategically for many reasons.

Recently, the North American Mission Board of the SBC has said they will not plant campus based churches in the south, but rather focus on non-Bible Belt campuses where there is often no evangelical witness, let alone a Baptist one. This comes out of the discussion of whether it made sense to plant a campus church where there was a strong campus based BCM.

Should we focus our resources on "Influencer Campuses" rather than trying to be everywhere? Should we let denominational based College Ministers raise money for large staffs? Should we develop alliances and "working agreements" with other go there and we will go here? Since these conversations are uncomfortable (to me for sure), we often do not have them.

There are lots of discussions to be had. Part of it is simply understanding it is the end of a chapter....not the end of the book! It is time for some new thoughts. But, they must be made strategically AND not just be financially driven. I believe the money is available for College Ministry, if we make our case......and have a strong new chapter strategy!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Simple College Ministry Formula or Stategy....GOATS!

People starting out in College Ministry, volunteers or part time workers will often ask, "What is a simple formula for doing the basics?". Or, a long time veteran will say, "How do I make sure in the middle of doing all I do that I have not lost sight of the meat of what our ministry should be?".

GOATS or G.O.A.T.S. is my answer.

G...GROWTH: Do discipleship one to one and effective small groups.

O...OUTREACH: Intentionally connect with those who don't automatically come to you and or do know not know Christ. I believe the most effective way to do this is through intentional and specific Freshmen Ministry and outreach in the most critical first three weeks of school.

A...A RALLY POINT: this is a group worship or teaching time that builds an identify for your ministry, an encouraging fellowship and a low commitment entry point.

T...TRAINING: Train students to be leaders in your ministry, in the church and for our society. Developing student leaders is the great multiplier of our ministry, time, and variety of spiritual gifts.

S...SERVICE: Provide opportunities for service in the community and in the world. Today's student wants to make a difference. Even non-Believers can be attracted to opportunities to serve. Developing a servant spirit is part of our ministry.

How is your GOAT ministry doing? Are you a GOAT herder? Or, have you lost sight of the basics?