posted Jan 20, 2016, 9:10 AM by Ginger Bowman
As we consult with church college ministry leaders and pastors in our state, there are some recurring themes. I've chosen 5 of the most common to focus on as we start the year. 1. Workers for the Harvest. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matt. 9:36-38. The vast majority of the 1.3 million college students in our state need Jesus. The vast majority of students on that campus close to your church need Jesus, and your plate is already full. If only there were more workers..... First, take comfort in the fact that this has been an issue since Jesus was here. It's not just your church. It isn't the harvest, but the workers in the harvest that are few. Finding leaders can be one of the biggest barriers to overcome in college ministry. Are you looking for a few good leaders? Here are a few suggestions:
College ministry is highly relational. One person cannot do it alone. See recruiting new leaders as part of what you do as college minister/leader. The result will be a multitude of relationships that enrich the lives of not only the students, but also the leaders who serve along side of you. *Chuck Bomar's book, College Ministry from Scratch has some other great suggestions for recruiting leaders. Order one from Lifeway.com here.Is this in your top 5? Maybe you have one to add to the list? Share it with us here on our facebook page.
- Ask the Lord of the Harvest. Why wouldn't we start here with the words of Jesus? We must begin by praying and asking the Lord for workers. It is a prayer he wants to answer. As we ask, He will bring people to serve and open our eyes to see them. As you pray, be on the lookout for how he is answering.
- Look for people who are relational. College leaders don't have to be scholars, but they do need to be relational. Students are looking for mentors and leaders that will walk with them through these years. These leaders need to be vulnerable enough to share their weaknesses as well as their strengths.
- Older adults make great college leaders. Students are looking for adults with life experience that can be mentors in a variety of ways. Find people who have the time to invest in young adults. Often "empty nesters" are great college leaders. They have the time and can relate without being too much of a parent.
- Look for people who are learners. Paul says in 1 Cor. 11:1, "Follow me, as I follow Christ." These are people who understand that they haven't arrived at some end point in their faith, but they are still learning and growing in their faith. As Chuck Bomar says in College Ministry from Scratch, "when college age people observe older adults being teachable, they'll follow."*
- Have a heart for young adults. Who do you know that already loves the college students in your church? It might be a former youth worker, or a parent of a recent college student. Find those people who will love them well. Sometimes it is difficult to find people because there is a common idea in the church that they must be like college professors, or have some certain social skills to relate to them. If this is the case, create some fellowship opportunities, or service projects in the church to get prospective leaders together with students. Their time together can lead to a change in perspective and perhaps lead them to want to invest further in the lives of students.