5 Requests for the Sake of College Ministers Everywhere

This is a guest post by Chase Abner. Chase is the associate director of The Salt Company, a campus ministry at Iowa State University. Chase also is an editor for Collegiate Collective.

“One thing about which fish know exactly nothing is water, since they have no anti-environment which would enable them to perceive the element they live in.” — Marshall McLuhan

courtesy pexels.com

courtesy pexels.com

In other words, fish don’t know they’re wet.

Similarly, you don’t know how brilliant you are.

Truly, I mean that. 

I’ve served in college ministry for eleven years. For the past four years, I’ve been in roles that have allowed me to study ministries of all shapes and sizes across North America. 

From campus-based ministries on small campuses to church-based ministries at major state universities. 

From small groups at community colleges to worship services with thousands of students.

I’ve studied church plants, missional communities, and everything else. 

Without a doubt, God is doing some of his most significant work through collegiate ministries.

However, collegiate leaders are often blind to how great their ideas are because they’re like the fish in water. I can think of a few reasons why:

  • Many collegiate leaders are products of the ministry they now direct. They’re simply reproducing what they received. As a result, they can’t fully appreciate what is unique about their ministry.
  • Collegiate leaders often lack the resources that allow them to travel to observe other college ministries. So, they aren’t afforded the opportunities to see how their ministries are distinct.
  • Collegiate leaders, of all ministers, seem to be most plagued with insecurity (see here and here) about the size and scope of their ministries. It’s hard to celebrate what’s going well when you’re preoccupied with what appears to be going poorly.

Why does this matter?

It matters because we’re all better when we share our ideas. And if we don’t think we have useful ideas, then we’re not likely to share them.

So here are five requests for the sake of college ministers everywhere…

1. Spend time with the other college ministers on your campus. Talk about what you’re doing and learn from what they are doing. 

2. Understand that excitement about what God is doing through your methods and strategies isn’t necessarily boasting. Just remember that you don’t have anything that you didn’t receive (1 Cor. 4:7).

3. Consider starting a blog chronicling what you’re doing and learning in college ministry. Or, even submit articles to websites like this one, Campus Ministry Today, or Collegiate Collective.

4. Build more conference money into your budget. Yes, you might have to raise more money, but if you choose the right events, it will pay off in dividends.

5. MULTIPLY! One of the best ways to spread good ideas is to plant new ministries in new places. There is no greater mission field in the world than college/university campuses. Let’s give it all we’ve got.

I’m not the first to say these things. I’m just echoing guys like Tim Casteel who inspire me. Let me close with some of his words:

“If we really believe that college students are one of God’s primary vehicles to fulfill the Great Commission, we must work together. What will it require? It will mean being intentional to invest a little time in sharing. We need more sharers.”

Is there another request you would add? Please join the conversation by leaving a comment below!

  6 comments for “5 Requests for the Sake of College Ministers Everywhere

  1. Cyndi Needels
    October 24, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    These are great! Can I add one?
    6. Build a team of people who pray specifically for you and for your ministry. If once a week you have to send one or two SPECIFIC requests and also answers from previous requests, you not only get a gauge of what is most important to you in your ministry but you have to be intentionally watching for God to show up. And we can all use more prayer support!

    • Neil
      October 24, 2016 at 1:52 pm

      I love this, Cyndi! What an awesome discipline. Thanks for adding this one!

  2. November 20, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    Great article! One of my great frustrations is some of the best College Ministers in America doing all kinds of great things are older guys and they are not writing or blogging. That’s our loss.

    • Neil
      November 20, 2016 at 8:47 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Arliss! Thank you for sharing so generously. You’ve helped a lot of us by sharing your insight. I’m thankful for you!

  3. February 6, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Great stuff. Just came across this today. I have stopped writing over the last year or so – inspired me to pick it up again.

    One tip I’d add – to the top of the list. Preach Jesus and always bring everything back to the Gospel. The Gospel doesn’t need to be made relevant, it’s always been relevant. Has been working for us.

    • Neil
      February 6, 2017 at 5:52 pm

      Awesome stuff, Michael! Thanks for chiming in.

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