College Ministry: Cultivating a Posture

Now that I’m getting a bit more sleep at night (well, A has been sleeping great, and D, SIGH, still needs to snack and snuggle a couple of times.) I’ve been allowing myself to think and dream a little about ministry here, particularly to college students. I still love youth ministry, and now that we have babies I feel even more invested in children’s ministry, but with the huge college campus right down the street from FPC, my heart feels tugged in that direction, too.

There’s been more talks about doing something more intentional, and I’m enjoying the dialogue. Already FPC-ers provide a lunch EVERY WEEK (which I think is amazing) to students who come to worship on Sundays, and families (like faculty) seem to reach out and connect already on their own.

I’m getting ready to meet with the Task Force and continue to hear more about what they’ve discovered about some of the possibilities on Monday night, and look forward to connecting with them. To spark some of my own thoughts I’ve tried to Google college ministry blogs and have only really come across one (Exploring College Ministry). I love Jeffrey Arnett’s work, and probably should finish reading his textbook. There’s some great resources, too, in youth ministry books, but, of course, this is a whole other animal. The other unique piece is emphasizing something congregational-based rather than the more familiar lone-denominational-campus pastor model.

I’ve been toying with a phrase, “cultivating a posture,” as a way to articulate how a congregation might think about their outreach to students. College student ministry seems to be relegated (for better or worse) to a “program,” of a “committee,” much like youth ministry or children’s ministry, and in a smaller/medium-sized church that can make the most sense. But, I wonder what it would look like if an entire congregation would cultivate a posture, that is, an attitude that is creative and outside-of-the-box when it comes to ministering to college students. Rather than focusing only on programmatic components, like a Christmas party or even a weekly Bible Study, it could mean an impromptu invitation out to Sunday lunch with a family, or having one’s home available on the weekend for college students to come over to do laundry, or going out for coffee some afternoon. The point is to be open to so many possibilities – to seek out their interests and to improvise, to be spontaneous and spur-of-the-moment, and to take a risk. To me, that’s the posture of ministry – openness to the Holy Spirit, and a willingness to follow and respond in any way possible.

There’s so much more, but hoping to spend time reading and thinking before delving in more. Once again, inspired by Kenda Dean in this endeavor!

Ministry is a holy way of living towards one another.

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