This is the first run at a two page philosophy of ministry (there's a 20 page version, but that's a bit much for a blog). I welcome any comments, questions, thoughts, etc. This is a work in progress, based on what I know right now. It will change.
Mission: My ministry is guiding collegians know the story of God, be the people of God, and expand the kingdom of God in themselves and in the world, helping them to become maturing, holistic follower-learners by means of investigation of, reflection upon, and participation in God's holistic, already-and-not-yet kingdom.
The purpose of college ministry is guiding collegians to become maturing, holistic follower-learners who take seriously the process of a lifetime of tending towards God. Holistic follower-learners take seriously the rule of Christ over every aspect of existence, bringing the physical, mental, emotional, vocational, academic, entertainment and relational aspects of life under Christ’s rule.
The goal of college ministry is guiding collegians to know the story, be the people, and expand the kingdom. Knowing the story begins with all the content of Scripture, and goes on to include our active participation in God's kingdom. Being the people involves a horizontal relationship with other believers and a vertical relationship with Christ. Expanding the kingdom involves increasing breadth by making follower-learners increasing depth by deepening our obedience to all Jesus’ commands.
Three primary educational means are employed in college ministry: investigation, reflection, and participation. First, the leader guides student investigation of the story of God, providing an example of and opportunity for a careful, obedient handling of Scripture and an insightful, discerning consideration of humanity. Second, the leader guides student reflection on the story of God, modeling and encouraging submission to the truth of God. Third, the leader guides student participation in the story of God, assisting in discovery of and obedience to the call of God in all areas of life.
There are three intentions in college ministry. First, in college ministry we intend to be so certain of Jesus’ continuing presence that we are free to tell God and each other the true story about ourselves. Second, we intend to expand God’s kingdom by recognizing, preparing for, and participating in God’s continuing story. Third, we intend to expand God’s kingdom by working together to tell God’s story to all who will listen and by challenging listeners to become followers.
The college years are a dangerous time for God-followers. In this time of upheaval it is all too easy to develop habits of compartmentalization that allow one to keep up appearances while doing as one pleases. College ministry must be a safe place for collegians to explore faith and make it their own; it must be a safe place to fail or to succeed. Only in an honest relationship with God, held in the context of a loving faith community, can we expect collegians (or any one else) to become maturing, holistic follower-learners.
The end result of college ministry is honest, missional, obedient storytellers who intentionally deepen their participation in God’s already-and-not-yet kingdom. These men and women are maturing believers who know the truth about themselves as follower-learners. They know that this side of heaven they are ever a mixture of submission and rejection, tending toward Jesus only because of his grace. They properly handle and increasingly understand God’s Word; they recognize his presence in their lives, in the church, and in the world; and they have seen God work as they work together to expand his kingdom.
This end result is accomplished through three specific goals. First, college ministry exists to guide collegians to understand the truth about God and the truth about humanity. This understanding is gained when collegians study the Scripture in substantial chunks and relate those chunks to the whole of Scripture. Second, college ministry exists to develop collegians as the people of God, connecting them to the church through ministry and challenging them to trust Christ and become follower-learners. Third, college ministry exists to equip collegians as maturing follower-learners who go out into the world and make follower-learners. A high percentage of the curriculum should be skill training and experiential learning, followed by debriefings that help them process what they have learned.
The primary content of college ministry is Scripture. Through both direct bible interaction or indirect discussion and modeling, college ministry is based upon and points to God’s Word. Collegians are equipped to investigate the bible for themselves and to run all of life through a biblical-theological filter.
The organizing center of college ministry is the already-and-not-yet kingdom of God. Believers today are joining a work in progress. What we call “church” started long before us and will continue after we are gone. Collegians that trust and follow Jesus are part of a story that fills all time and moves into eternity. Effective college ministry challenges those collegians to passionately take up their kingdom responsibilities, expanding the Kingdom as the reign of God in the daily life of the individual and the community.
Effective college ministry connects with three spaces in the life of the collegian. College ministry connects with the church, the community, and with daily life. This connecting takes place in a climate of theological integrity, courageous storytelling, and celebration.
Effective college ministry touches the deep needs of collegians. The college years are a time when everything is in transition. Individuals are moving from dependence to independence. Many are deciding upon and preparing for careers. Many are searching for a mate. Collegians need a stable framework upon which they can recreate themselves. They need a safe place to work through the changes and expose their fears. They need to know that even though everything is changing, they are part of something that is truly grand and important. They need to know that God is in control and that it is safe to succeed or to fail.
The college years are a time when individuals either successfully or unsuccessfully negotiate the transition from childhood faith to adult faith. Childhood faith is a received faith, believed because it was transmitted to the child by parents or other authority figures. Adult faith is owned faith, believed because it has been intellectually questioned and experientially proven by the individual. College ministry allows for and encourages such questioning, and provides opportunities for collegians to participate with God in his work and experience his Spirit in the daily life of the community. Effective college ministry creates an atmosphere where collegians challenge one another to follow God and move from childhood faith to adult faith.
Like any ministry, college ministry should be intentionally intergenerational. Teachers for the college ministry should be drawn from young twenty-somethings, middle adults, and older adults. Twenty-somethings function as peer-counselors and friends. Middle adults function like aunts and uncles. They are older and know more, but do not have parental concerns. Older adults function as grandparents. They provide care, wisdom, and stories.
College ministry targets college-age believers and equips them to reach out to other collegians, telling the Story of God to all who will listen and challenging listeners to become followers. Because many must belong before they can believe, those who have not yet trusted Christ are encouraged to participate in any non-person-to-person ministry. They are also brought into peer-led small groups, where they can investigate the gospel in a safe, informal atmosphere. The primary task of staff, teachers, and leaders is equipping collegians to do the ministry.
See CC License