“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
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).
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!