Mar 02, 2015


The Glaring Weakness of College Ministers

Collegiate Collective’s Tim Casteel writes about the value in college ministers recording their ideas and practices.

“I’m convinced that if Cru just disappeared from the world tomorrow, we would leave no trace – there would be no written record of what we did – how we do ministry.” Tim Norman – Cru Regional Director

I think those in college ministry are prone to this particular weakness – I know it’s true of the ministry I work for, Cru.

We’re doers. We don’t like sitting on the sideline. We like being in the game, mixing it up with students on campus. College ministry is a high initiative job in a high-paced, rapidly changing environment. Consequently, college ministry attracts extroverted and driven leaders – charismatic men and women who love being around people.

But here’s the weakness I’ve seen in college ministry. Very few are taking notes on what they’re doing, much less sharing them with others.

All college ministers have to create Bible study materials, discipleship content, staff meeting agendas, weekly meeting talks, small group training talks, and planning documents.

So you have two choices:

  • You can either recreate those materials every year, on every campus across the U.S.
  • Or you can write down what you’re doing and share with others.

Which is quicker/easier in the short run? Which saves you (and us all) time in the long run?

Take a few extra minutes to write down your devotional for your staff team. Write pretty detailed notes on what you do in staff meeting. Evaluate everything you do and record those notes! Write down your game plan to send more students to the world.


2 Reasons:

  • Selfishly – Next year you’ll save countless hours every week.
    • Next year, as you’re prepping staff meeting, you can look back and see exactly what you did – you can copy and paste. It’s what my co-leader and I do every single week when we plan together: “What did we do last year at this staff meeting/leadership retreat/student leader meeting?”
    • You’re not reinventing the wheel every year. You’re taking what you did last year and adding a few applicable topics.
    • And in a few years, you can recycle that devotional you used with your staff.
  • Selflessly – You can save other college ministers countless hours of prep work and share great resources.
    • I like the challenge issued by Brian Barela’s question – “Are you comfortable with other leaders spending time creating something that you have already done?”

For me, it’s a matter of leverage.

Leverage – the use of a small initial investment to gain a very high return in relation to one’s investment (source)

I highly value efficiency. But I value leveraged effectiveness far more – even if it costs me a little time right now. I love the idea of multiplying my time.

If I’m going to do something, I want to make sure I get a multiplied return on what I’m doing. I love the idea of other campuses getting to use a devo or evangelism tool or weekly meeting talk we’ve invested time in. I love the idea of not wasting time creating a staff meeting from scratch because I look back at last year’s staff meeting agenda this exact week in the spring and see what we should be addressing as a staff team.

So for a small initial investment (taking time to write things down), I gain a VERY high return.

A few practical application points:

  • Does this sound extremely painful to you? You may be an extrovert! Extroverts thrive on engaging with people and doing stuff. Introverts often excel at influencing others through writing. Empower someone on your team or one of your student leaders to take notes on what your ministry is doing.
  • Record all your notes in the same (shared) place.Getting our whole team (and student staff) to use Google Drive this year has been a game changer. Everyone has access to all of the files – they’re no longer locked on my hard drive where only I can access them!

Find a way to share with others. Get on Twitter. Contribute to a blog. Share what you are doing on your campus. Read more here for more ideas on sharing.

about the author

Tim Casteel

Tim works in college ministry at a university in Arkansas.