What Do You Do When Your College Ministry is in the Weeds?

Arliss Dickerson Leadership Development Consultant, Collegiate Ministry, Lifeway Christian Resources
People gathered

If you do college ministry very long, you will have that semester or year when your ministry is in the weeds.  You are working hard… sometimes even harder than usual, but it just is not up to what it has been or what you think it ought to be.  When we speak, we speak about our successes… when you go to meetings, we hear people speak about their successes.  It is a natural, but wrong assumption, that you are the only one who has an “in the weeds kind of year”.  If someone who has done college ministry for many years tells you they have never had a down year or semester… do not buy a used car from them!

“Trust the Process” is a term used by college coaches that have gone into a rebuilding situation, but have not arrived yet.  I would tweak that to say, “Trust the Lord AND keep working the process”.

8 Ways to Keep Working the Process When Your Ministry is in the Weeds

1.  Make sure you are continually and consistently articulating a strong vision for the ministry.
-It is easy to think we have said that so many times we don’t need to say it any more.  But, have these current students heard it often and clearly enough?  It is easy to lose the vision.

2.  Communicate your brand.
-This is commercial lingo for continually communicating to the outside world (the campus) who you are and what you are offering.
-This is particularly key, if you serve a campus where there are multiple ministries reaching out to students.
-What makes your ministry unique and worthy of their time?
-One of my goals in this year as the Interim College Minister at a church is to just get our church back on the radar.  We used to be but somehow, sometime that got lost.

3.  Make sure you are maximizing the strengths of your ministry and your personal strengths and gifts.
-The busier we get the easier it is to take for granted and lose focus on those things we normally have done well.
-The thicker the weeds get the more we must maximize our strengths…and may need to drop some things that are taking time and effort away from those strengths.

4.  Continue to look for, to develop, and to empower strong leaders.
-Nuff said!

5.  Be consistent in who and what you and your ministry is.
-Unless it is wrong, not working, or outlived its usefulness, don’t kick it to the side.
-When a ministry is consistent, students know what to expect and supporters know what they are supporting.

6.  Evaluate and tweak your large group meeting.
-Has it gone stale?
-Are you trying to copy someone else’s large group meeting instead of doing your own with you people speaking to their needs, utilizing their and your gifts and strengths?

7.  Maximize quality freshmen outreach.
-There is a brief window as to when it is easiest to connect to freshmen.
-Put some of your best, most Jesus loving, and most passionate student leaders in the area of reaching out to freshmen.

8.  Keep doing discipleship whether in one to one, small groups, or both.
-Lives that God has changed will be used by the Lord to change lives.

You get out of the weeds by trusting the Lord and keeping on!

“I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion till the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6 (Holman)

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