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Monday, October 14, 2019

The Secret Sauce for Commuter College Ministry?

I know the secret sauce to commuter college ministry.....and I have a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you.  A friend recently posted on a college ministry page that he would like to know what others had found to be effective in reaching commuters.  Immediately, he got two responses.  They were just what I would expect.  They said, "When you find out, let us know.".  I have been asked at different times who has it figured out in commuter college ministry.

Here is what I and others do know:

1.  Students on Commuter campuses think differently.
It is not just that some students live on campus and some live at home.  Many commuter campus students do not think like college students.  They think like young working adults who are taking some classes.  They are NOT PRIMARILY COLLEGE STUDENTS.  This often holds true of commuters who attend residential campuses but have never left home.  Many students attend commuter campuses because they are reluctant to leave home.  They are not as assertive and outgoing as many students.  Or, they are only on a commuter campus until they can transfer to a "real college" in their mind.  One commuter campus College Minister when asked what he had learned he said, "They leave.".  Your ministry must THINK DIFFERENTLY!

2.  Commuter students time on campus varies radically from one group to another.
Some go only at night.  Others go only two or three days a week.  Many fit their classes around work schedules.  And, that is another complicating factor.  Their free time is often non-existent or is at unusual times.  One commuter campus College Minister has found some success by having his weekly large group event at two times on the same day.  One is at 4:00 p.m. and the other is at 9:00 p.m.  The 4:00 o'clock time is for those students who can come after class and prior to going to work.  The 9:00 o'clock time works for those who have gotten off work by that time.  Who has a large group worship event at 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon?  That is the difference in commuter ministry.

3.  Commuter campus students tend to have little or no pride in their school.
Some years ago I led a Bible study at a large youth camp for college students who were there as counselors/sponsors.  Each time on the first day for a get acquainted time, I would have each tell their name, where they went to school, and one thing they liked about their college.  Students from a large commuter campus in our state would say, "I can't think of anything I like about it."  There is not a sense of loyalty or built in sense of wanting to connect or be a part of anything.

 HOWEVER THERE IS GOOD NEWS.

1.  A ministry that projects a pride in what it is doing and obviously is something done with excellence has an appeal to students that find that lacking overall and are looking for it. A friend who works on a primarily commuter campus promotes a theme, "We love our campus." and has found traction with it both with students AND the administration.

2.  Commuter campus Administrators are often anxious to work with anyone who is providing campus events and promoting a sense of pride in being there and giving students a sense of belonging instead of, "I am just here till I can transfer."  College Ministers working in these situations must make all the administrative connections possible.

3.  Students do not leave town on weekends or for holidays.  Weekends and even holidays may provide more opportunities for connecting with and having students attend events as their time schedule has opened up more.  They may still be working, but they do not have class.  Friday night or Saturday night events with a meal or a ballgame gathering may be a good option.  One church had success with ballgame watch parties with a Bible study at half time.

4.  Many campuses administrations are open to partnering with campus groups who are doing disaster relief trips.  If you are Southern Baptist, no one does a better job of providing disaster relief options and projects.  This also fits with today's students' desire to be socially active and can be weekend or holiday.

Commuter students need a relationship to Jesus Christ just like dorm students do.  And, as college costs grow, this will become more and more the norm for students to at least attend a commuter campus for their first year or two.  Too often we have tried to do the same thing on commuter campuses that we do on residential campuses.  The first step to the "Secret Sauce" is acknowledging that they are two different birds!

Arliss Dickerson is a part time college ministry consultant for Lifeway Christian Resources and the author of five books on college ministry available in eBook format at amazon.com.  FIXING A BROKEN COLLEGE MINISTRY is available in paperback.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

What's The Crossroads for Your College Campus?

In ancient times Crossroads where two or more major trade routes intersected became gathering places.  They were places where goods were traded, news was shared and information was passed.  Paul in his missionary journeys went to "Crossroads Cities".  The Gospel spread from there as people went on to other places.

I am convinced there are "Crossroads" on college campuses that we must identify and use.  Long ago when I first came to Arkansas State University, students still got mail and received Care packages from home in the mail.  We discovered that most students would go to the campus Post Office on their way to their 9:00 o'clock class or their 10:00 o'clock class.  So, I would often stand out in front of the Post Office from 8:30 to 9:00 and 9:30 to 10:00....especially at the first of the fall semester or Lunch Program days.  I would see students involved in our ministry and they would introduce me to others as they came by.

 When we began to be serious about trying to grow our Lunch Program on campus, we would put out signs advertising the Lunch Program at "Sidewalk Crossroads" where as many as four or five walks would converge from different parts of the campus.  As the morning progressed, we would move them to different "Crossroads" that more fit that time of the day.

When I went back to ASU as the Acting BCM College Minister, I would eat in the main cafeteria twice a week.  I would see core students and meet new students.  Campus eating places are Crossroads.

Where are the Crossroads on your campus?  Where do students pass by?  What is the prime "Crossroads time"?  One of my "Rules for College Ministers"  is WALK THROUGH THE STUDENT CENTER EVERY DAY.  The Student Center is a Crossroad.  Utilize it and KNOW the TIMES to be there.

Some are finding Crossroads in different Social Media and the way they utilize it with certain hashtags, belonging to certain groups, etc. "Campus Crossroads" come in all different ways.

Are YOU finding and utilizing the different Crossroads on your campus?  Every campus has Crossroads....they just vary campus to campus and year to year.


Arliss Dickerson is a part time college ministry consultant for Lifeway Christian Resources and the author of five books on college ministry available in eBook format at amazon.com.  FIXING A BROKEN COLLEGE MINISTRY is available in paperback.

Monday, October 7, 2019

The 2 Biggest Killers of College Ministers

Some would say low pay which forces some out of college ministry is the number one killer of College Ministers.  Others would say it is the long sometimes crazy hours.  Or, an argument can be made for growing older and no longer being able to relate to college students effectively.  A good case can be made for for all of these and most of us know someone that left for one of these reasons,  But, I don't believe any of these is "the main killer".

The TWO TOP KILLERS are COMPARISON and FEELING ALONE.

COMPARISON - Most of us who do or have done college ministry know the feeling of working yourself silly and not seeing the response we hoped to see and seeing another ministry with bigger crowds, etc.  Or, we are wrestling with tough issues and other ministries just seem to glide along each year.  Comparison is evil!  Comparison is wrong!  Comparison is UN-CHRISTIAN!  I do it all the time!!  Maybe, I'm the only out of control sinner in college ministry.....maybe.

  HERE ARE SOME THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN YOU COMPARE:

1.  You never know all that is going on in another ministry.

2.  Numbers represent people, but a big crowd is not all there is to it.  One of my students suggested we name our worship band, "Free Beer".  He said then we could advertise, "Free Beer at the BCM Thursday Night".  I think we would have had a great crowd that one night.  A crowd is not the only measure of success.

3.  Long haul faithfulness beats short term flashes.  Sometimes, we compare ourselves to the "latest hot thing".  Your ministry was there doing well long before the flash and will likely be there going strong after the flash has faded or moved on.  There is always some ministry you can compare yours to and feel a miserable failure.

4.  Comparison tempts you to do things that don't fit with your skills or even cause you to be continually changing your ministry instead of building on proven methods.

FEELING ALONE  or NO ONE CARES BUT ME - As much of a killer as comparison is, I believe feeling alone and no one else cares is ten times worse! I think it is the number one killer of College Ministers.  People leaving college ministry because of low salaries and needing to provide for growing families, etc is just a symptom of feeling no one cares.  "If people cared, they would provide us with decent salaries and insurance."  "If people cared, I would have a decent budget for this campus."

THINGS TO DO AND REMEMBER WHEN YOU FEEL NO ONE CARES:

1.  Have one or two friends in college ministry you can talk to every week and fuss to....be totally honest.

2.  Don't isolate yourself just with college students and your ministry.  Our crazy hours and schedule tend to take us out of "the normal adult world".  Several years ago my wife said to me, "You don't know how to to talk to anyone but college students".  I was working on campus all week and teaching college student Sunday School.  I started teaching an adult class and suddenly had more friends.  I found out others cared and they learned some things to care about.

3.  Go to regional and national conferences that rejuvenate you, remind you of your calling, and connect with with old and new friends....who GET what you do.

4.  Take a day or two off occasionally.  The Bible seems to say it is a sin to work 7 days a week....except if you are in the ministry? I have a friend who works like crazy....then, he takes a couple days off and goes hunting.  For a period of years, I took Tuesday afternoon off and scheduled no campus events on Tuesday nigh (We had Monday and Thursday night events and I went to church on Wednesday nights.) I would pick my girls up at at school AND we even ate supper at a NORMAL time. My girls are grown now and I am really glad I did that!   I worked hard and lots....just not on Tuesday afternoons and night.

My observations and that of others, that know far more than I do, indicates that the strongest, largest or most successful and impacting college ministries are those led by College Ministers who have been doing it long term.  To have lots of strong college ministries, we need to have more College Ministers who are not killed out of college ministry by COMPARISON and FEELING NO ONE CARES!


Arliss Dickerson is a part time college ministry consultant for Lifeway Christian Resources and the author of five books on college ministry available in eBook format at amazon.com.  FIXING A BROKEN COLLEGE MINISTRY is available in paperback.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

College Ministry eBooks Price Change

Our College Ministry eBooks that are currently 99 cents each on amazon.com are going back to their $1.99 price effective Friday, October 11.

This includes:
Fixing a Broken College Ministry
The 10 Commandments of College Ministry
Doing College Ministry Better
25 Tips for Developing College Ministry Leaders
The Big 50:  Principles and Ideas for Growing Your College Ministry

The paperback FIXING A BROKEN COLLEGE MINISTRY will continue at its $4.99 price for the time being.


Arliss Dickerson is a part time college ministry consultant for Lifeway Christian Resources and is the author of five books on college ministry available in eBook format for 99 cents each at amzon.com.  FIXING A BROKEN COLLEGE MINISTRY is available in paperback.

Monday, September 30, 2019

College Ministry Positions in Utah and Idaho

Ben Neiser serves as Campus Minister at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and is also the Collegiate Network Coordinator for the Utah/Idaho Southern Baptist Convention.  He has provided the following information.

Our ministry, Intersect, is in great need of laborers.  We have had several short term missions partnerships and two Semester Missionaries.  What we need is more long term ministry partnerships to form.  I would be happy to speak with anyone about the following opportunities.

CAMPUS MISSIONARY INTERN WITH INTERSECT - BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY, PROVO
-35,000 enrollment with less than 50 known born again believers.
-The CMI will assist in the areas of prayer, evangelism and outreach events.

CAMPUS MISSIONARY WITH INTERSECT - UTAH VALLEY UNIVERSITY, OREM, UT
-40,000 entrollment

PRODUCER - INTERSECT PODCAST & YOU TUBE SHOW
-This is the online format to our evangelistic ministry of Intersect.

CAMPUS MISSIONARY - UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY, LOGAN, UT
-23,000 enrollment

CAMPUS MISSIONARY - BYU-IDAHO, REXBURG, ID
-21,000 enrollment

CHARACTERISTICS WE ARE LOOKING FOR:
-Highly intentional in evangelism and discipleship
-Not intimidated by a cross cultural mission field.

GENERAL DETAILS OF AVAILABLE POSITIONS:
-At least a one year commitment.
-Positions can be used as ministry intern experience.
-Can be filled by an individual seeking a permanent position.
-These positions are self-funded or bi-vocational.
-These positions can be held by current seminary students.  A seminary degree or pursuit of a seminary degree is not a prerequisite for these positions.

I will be happy to talk with anyone wanting more information.  You can contact me, BenNeiser@gmail.com or 870.926.5461.


Arliss Dickerson is a part time college ministry consultant for Lifeway Christian Resources and the author of five books on college ministry available in eBook format for 99 cents at amazon.com.  FIXING A BROKEN COLLEGE MINISTRY is available in paperback.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

7 Deadly Sins of a College Minister

1.  Not getting the contact info of a new student who attends your church or event.

2.  Poor relationships with supporting churches for a campus based College Minister.

3.  Not writing personal thank you notes to contributors or others who are helping you do what you do.

4.  Not being clearly appropriate or above reproach in opposite sex relationships, meetings, etc.

5.  Loose handling or accounting of finances and cash payments handed to you.

6.  Not balancing family, ministry, and personal/spiritual self care.

7.  Not understanding spoken and unspoken expectations of stakeholders, employers, and/or supervisors.


Arliss Dickerson is a part time college ministry consultant for Lifeway Christian Resources and the author of five books on college ministry.  They are available for 99 cents each in eBook format at amazon.com.  FIXING A BROKEN COLLEGE MINISTRY is also available in paperback.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Two IMPORTANT College Ministry Dates

SEPTEMBER 30 - Monday, September 30th is the deadline to submit proposals to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to be considered for one of their $500 grants to be given to five different college ministries.  The proposal is to state what your ministry would do with the money and the possible impact or continuing value it would be to the on-going nature of your ministry or to the witness to the campus.  For information or to submit your proposal, email Dr. Beth Masters at bmasters@nobts.edu.  Beth serves as College Ministry Professor at NOBTS and is a friend to all of us that do college ministry. 

OCTOBER 10 - Engage24 is a 24 hour period focused on engaging the world with the good news of Christ.  While Engage24 is intensely focused on a single day of evangelism, the mission is to promote a 24/7 lifestyle of evangelism and engagement with the gospel.  Some campus ministries will do special projects on that day and others will focus on the one to one sharing of their students in their daily activities.  While this date has been set as the designated Engage24 date in the past, a specific day was not selected for this year.  However, many campus ministries have indicated that this will be the date for their emphasis as it has worked well within their school and ministry calendar.  Each campus can determine what will work best for them.


Arliss Dickerson is a part time college ministry consultant for Lifeway Christian Resources and the author of five books on college ministry (Doing College Ministry Better; 25 Tips for Developing College Ministry Leaders; The Big 50: 50 Ideas and Principles for Growing Your College Ministry; The 10 Commandments of College Ministry).  They are available for 99 cents each in eBook format at amazon.com.  FIXING A BROKEN COLLEGE MINISTRY is available in paperback: Amazon.com/dp/B0741DM1CD