Oct 16, 2017
4 Key Players in College Ministry
Andy Abramson describes the four key players that every college ministry needs to function at its max potential.
I love watching good sports teams. It doesn’t really matter the sport – football, basketball, baseball, soccer, water polo, synchronized swimming… ok, maybe not synchronized swimming. The reason I love team sports, is that you get to watch different people, with different talents, skill sets and backgrounds come together with a common vision. When the various players function the way their team needs them, there is always a chance to see something amazing.
Over the last several years of working with college leaders, I’ve come to see college ministry as a team sport. For a ministry to have maximum impact, it takes players working together within their key roles for a common vision. It saddens me when I see college ministry leaders trying to do ministry by themselves. I see them struggling to move the ministries forward that God has entrusted to them.
Are you a ministry leader feeling alone? It may be that you are missing a few key players on your team! Let’s explore together four key players that we find when a college ministry is having maximum impact.
#1- College Ministry Leaders
We’ve often had people approach our organization for help starting a college ministry within their local church. Our response is consistently the same – “Who do you have who is passionate about college students?” Without people who are ready to be on the front-lines of ministry to college students, it makes it impossible to have any sort of intentional ministry. Ministry to college students takes time and intentionality in relationships. Over my several years of engaging with college ministry leaders, I’ve been blessed to see so many different kinds of passionate leaders in so many various stages in their lives – teachers, parents, grandparents, coaches, people with young kids and everyone in-between. You don’t have to be a full-time pastor, campus ministry leader, or seminary trained to be passionate about college students. There’s no specific mold, but the college ministry leader is the #1 key player.
#2 – A Few Key Passionate College Students
Do you want to change the game within your college ministry? Find or raise up a few college students who are passionate for God’s Kingdom and their generation. It changes everything! What I’ve seen over and over again are passionate college students who in essence become the engine of the college ministry. When you can get some of these students together, it can bring a burst of momentum within your ministry. You should pray that God would bring students like this to your ministry and you should pray that God would give you opportunities to develop these type of leaders. My hope is that you would experience the joy of both in your ministry.
#3 – Church Leadership
One of the most underrated key players in college ministry is church leadership. Depending on your ministry model, you may relate to church leadership as an authority structure for you or as contributing partners to your parachurch organization. Church leadership can have many postures when it comes to its response to the college ministry within the church. For some, the college ministry is viewed only successful if it contributes back to the church. Others isolate the college ministry, only to engage if it impacts the rest of the church. Sometimes the leadership actively incorporates the college ministry within the overall vision of the church. They see it as a strategic opportunity to engage with an essential mission field to equip the next generation to lead and guide the church. Uncovering your leaderships’ thoughts and feelings about the college ministry are essential. Take the time to regularly update your church leadership on what has been happening in the college ministry. Give them stories to celebrate and ways they can continue to pray. Talk to leaders to actively engage in conversations about how the college ministry fits into the overall vision of the church.
#4 – Parents
One of the most underutilized players within college ministry is parents. I’m not only talking about parents of your current college students in your ministry but also parents with college students who have left your city because of going to other campuses or having jobs that relocate them. The reason I would argue that parents are so valuable is that college students are naturally on their heart. For many of them, they may be concerned about their own children. If they are followers of Jesus, praying for their college students may already be in the rhythm of their lives. Because they are spending life in the world of having college students, there are strategic opportunities to mobilize them to serve, pray and give. I really believe that parents are an untapped resource within our local churches. What parents of college students do you have around you? Is there a way you can cast a vision for them to participate in the larger kingdom movement of college ministry within your local church? Find a way to involve these key players.
What do I do if I’m missing a key player?
I’ll be honest, getting all four of these key players involved in your college ministry can be difficult at times. In the ministries I’ve led, there have been times where I sought faithfully to involve all four players, but for various reasons, they were not there or we just couldn’t find ourselves on the same page. The task isn’t easy, but it’s well worth the fight to see it come about. Take a minute and evaluate the key players you do have. What ways can you begin to strengthen your relationships with each of those key players? Are there ways you can begin to utilize them even more? For key players that may not be there, begin to pray that God would show you or perhaps bring you these key players. When you have all four of these key players on the team working on a common vision, the impact can be amazing.
My heart leaps for joy every time I visit a college ministry having maximum impact. I love seeing when different parts of the church contribute to the college ministry having the impact that it ought to have. It inspires me when each player within a college ministry is using their gifts to forward the vision for greater Kingdom impact. But to tell you the truth, I want to see it in every church. I want every church to establish a thriving college ministry that impacts the greater Kingdom. Let’s commit to together activating all four of these key players to see maximum Kingdom impact.