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Thursday, December 13, 2018

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Do Your Ministry Partners Respect Your Ministry?

I have written that the "IT Factor" for College Ministers is R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  In working with college students for the long term God process in their life, it is not charisma or how trendy we dress, it is respect.  But, I want to add another dimension to that.

Do your ministry partners respect your ministry?  In the Southern Baptist world a campus based College Minister is responsible not only for having a ministry on campus, but they are responsible for working with, encouraging and helping the church college ministries.  It is a complicated mine field to navigate sometimes.  Some are very cooperative. Some are eager for help. Some are somewhat cooperative and some even seem to intentionally compete against the campus based ministry and other church ministries.

A simple fact is, if your ministry is not respected, other ministries are less likely to cooperate.  Lack of respect toward a ministry is sometimes caused by poor behavior on the part of the professional leadership or students involved.  However, often lack of respect is caused by either a poor job OR that the ministry is smaller and not considered "significant" by others.

So how do we earn "ministry respect"?  First, we do the best possible job we can do.  Excellence is always a key to respect.  Part of excellence is being what we say we are.  Also, it sometimes means working with those who will cooperate and going forward.  When some are not cooperative, we cannot let that keep us from being cooperative with those who will.  Some ministry leaders have to see the benefit of cooperation.  It has been argued that if we "give away our ministry" others will be more cooperative.  The opposite is often true.  A strong thriving ministry draws cooperation.

There is an unhealthy competitive spirit that is harmful to ministry to students and to God's kingdom overall.  But, I believe there is a "Healthy Competitive Spirit".  When other ministries do well and are not cooperative, we can let that drive us to do the best possible job we can do.  We are not angry or negative toward that ministry.  But, we work on our ministry being all that it can be.

The personal actions of the College Minister can affect the "ministry respect".
 5 Things the College Minister Can Do to Bolster "Ministry Respect":
-Always respond to and return messages as soon as possible and no later than 24 hours.
-Express thanks where thanks is due.  When a partner helps, do not take it for granted!
-Communicate.  Let them know things you are doing that might affect them and ask for any information they want to share with you.
-Highlight things that are happening through cooperative efforts.  Share the credit.
-Never bad mouth other ministries.....even when they deserve it.  It is hard...I know!

My scripture when I wrestle with this issue is Mark 9:38-40.  "Teacher, said John, we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop because he was not one of us.  Do not stop him, Jesus said.  No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us."

Respect can be lost instantly and earning it takes time.  Are you working at earning respect for your ministry?  A respected ministry can make more of a difference.

Arliss Dickerson's eBook, 25 TIPS FOR DEVELOPING COLLEGE MINISTRY LEADERS, is free this week at  His paperback book, FIXING A BROKEN COLLEGE MINISTRY, is reduced to $3.99 during the holidays.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Baptist Campus Seeking a Campus Minister

Williams Baptist University located in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas is seeking applicants for their Director of Campus Ministries. The Director of Campus Ministries is responsible for the creation, implementation, and management of a comprehensive campus ministry program that promotes discipleship, worship, evangelism, and domestic/international missions through the mission and vision of WBU.  The person filling this position will also direct the WBU Worship Team.

-Master of Divinity (M.Div) or equivalent, three years of relevant experience, or a combination of education and relevant experience
-Demonstrated Ability in personal evangelism and discipleship
-Commitment to evangelical missions
-Ability to direct and oversee a worship team

Applicants should complete WBU's online application at htts:// and then email a resume, statement of faith and references to  A review of applicants will begin immediately and applications will be accepted until the position is filled.  Those having questions or seeking more information may contact Dr.Brett Cooper, Vice President for Development, at

Arliss Dickerson's book, FIXING A BROKEN COLLEGE MINISTRY, is available in paperback at for the reduced price of $3.99 during the holidays/

Monday, December 3, 2018

Going Big or BIGGER

Most ministries are not averse to having a larger crowd.  I am often asked how to break the "attendance ceiling".  What is a "big crowd" is determined by the campus setting, the part of the country in which you serve and resources such as budget, facilities and staff. Fifty is a big crowd some places while two hundred might be considered a small crowd in a different setting. While numbers do not determine success, each number is a person. But, we must beware that we do not do what simply will draw a crowd.  Many years ago I spoke for an event on a campus and there was a "Beer Bust" going on next door.  They had a bigger crowd.  That does not mean the Christian event was not valuable.  So, the value of your ministry is not determined by the size of the crowd.  But, we all want to reach and impact as many as possible

So, as you consider how to make your event big or bigger.  Here are some questions to ask and what some ministries have done.  You do not have to like a suggestion to learn something from it.  But first, be honest about what your situation is..

Here are some Questions to Ask:
1.  Is our facility determining our capacity?  Should we change locations?
2.  Are we doing well what we are doing?  I often say, do well what you do well.
3.  If your ministry is in an area where there are other collegiate worship events, is your ministry emphasizing the unique aspects of your event.  Be the best YOU that you can be.
4.  Do you work at having an "Invite Culture"?  Often students are happy to come and never think about inviting or bringing anyone with them.
5.  Do we have too many events in one week and it dilutes energy and focus from our "main event"?  Would it be better to do fewer events on a regular basis?
6.  Should we target a different type of student or part of campus?
7.  Are we doing "same old, same old" and expecting a different response?
8.  The Tough Question:  Have I become enamored by the sound of my own voice and made it too much about me?  Should I invite others to speak at least some of the time?

Here are some things that some ministries have done to have the largest possible weekly worship event.
-Pay each week to bring in a well-known Christian speaker.
One such ministry I am aware of averaged 700 to 1,000.

-One ministry I recently learned about asks their graduates to consider raising their salary and staying on one year.  Each year they have about 100 of these "Graduate Assistants" who work at enlisting and bringing students to their weekly meeting.  They regularly have 1400 each week on this large campus.

-Obviously worship bands and music are huge. One method is to bring in well known worship leaders and use local speakers or staff speakers.

-Some ministries rotate their meetings through different fraternity and sorority houses.

-Many ministries now schedule their Freshmen small groups to meet following their weekly large group meeting.  This involves the Freshmen group leaders in working to get students at the weekly large group event.

-Would a "Supper Program" be an option?  Many ministries have Lunch Programs, but these are limited in time due to fitting into a lunch hour.  Would it be possible to do a meal each week prior to your evening large group event?  Some churches enlist a different Sunday School Group to do the meal and be present for a variety of age group connections.

Remember, you can always try something once or twice to get a feel for the possibility of it being a regular thing.

Arliss Dickerson's book, FIXING A BROKEN COLLEGE MINISTRY, is available in paperback at for the reduced price of $3.99 during the holidays.  Some have found it to be helpful in taking a ministry to "the next level".

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Chicken Soup and College Ministry

You likely have seen the story that CBS News has done about the Jewish Rabbi at The Rohr Center for Jewish Life at Arizona State University.  If you have not, the story is basically that they make and deliver homemade chicken soup to any student who is sick.  Parents and anyone can go on line to their site and order this for a sick no cost.

The CBS story showed the Rabbi and his wife making the chicken soup and showed a mom who lives across the country who had ordered it for her daughter who was sick.  The container of soup has on it a label telling the name of the ministry and their website.  They indicated that they normally averaged delivering about 15 a week.  Likely, that number will go up after today!  While it is free, there is a place to click on their website where you can make a donation.  My guess would be that most parents do so.  It would be interesting to know how much they receive.

But, my point is, what a great idea!  I remember many years ago being sick in my dorm room with strep throat thinking there was a good chance I would die and that would probably be a good thing.  There was a knock at the door and it was my BSU Director holding a cup of soup from The Wig Wam (a student eatery in the next building). was wonderful.

Flu season is coming.  Should we have some sort of chicken soup ministry?  Is it an outreach idea?  Could we have a "Flu Bag" that goes to any student that we hear about that is sick?  Is that a fund raiser that similar to "Final Exam Care Packages" that are marketed to parents with profits going to Summer Missions?

I also just like the idea that they are trying to help college students.  Isn't that a big part of what we are all about?  Many of our ministries have nursing students involved.  Would they like to lead out in a ministry in helping sick students?

Very seldom do I hear what is really a new idea.  Today, I did.  I think new ideas ought to stir us to think new ideas.

"Is anyone among you sick?  Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord."  James 5:14

Arliss Dickerson's book, FIXING A BROKEN COLLEGE MINISTRY, at in paperback format is reduced to $3.99 during the holidays.

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Fork Goes on the Left.....It's the Little Things That Make a Difference!

I loved the book, "Make Your Bed" by Admiral William McRaven. McRaven is one of our modern day American heroes who led the mission to get Bin Laden.  His book came out of a graduation speech he gave at the University of Texas.  He said, "First make your bed every morning."  You have started the day with an accomplishment, etc.  McRaven says it is the little things that make a difference.  I totally agree and double down on that belief in college ministry.

Last week the scripture that was my focus was Matthew 5:41, "If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles."  It was Jesus's word to those who could be forced to carry a Roman soldier's pack for one mile.  I am committed to the idea that it is not the grand gesture or event done occasionally that makes the difference, but rather it is the little thing done right again and again that makes the difference.  It is the second mile in little things that set the tone for everything.

Here are my seven little things done again and again in college ministry that make the difference.  Note, I said, AGAIN AND AGAIN.

1.  Write PERSONAL thank you notes.
When someone gives money to your ministry, write them a note.  When someone volunteers in your ministry, write them a thank you note.  A HANDWRITTEN thank you note says you care, you took time and you appreciated what they did.  It only has to be three or four lines written on a half sheet or thank you card.

2.  Walk Through the Student Center and across the campus EVERY Day.
It is easy to be stuck in your office and just see those students who come to you.  Walking across the campus and through the Student Center every day will lead to incidental contacts...sometimes God uses a sixty second conversation.  Students you know will introduce you to students you do not know.  You will grow in your sense of the personality, needs, and opportunities of your campus.

4.  Have students in your home.
This is not an every week thing or that your home becomes the campus Student Center.  And  there are reasons this may not be possible.  But, an end of the semester event held at your home says in another way that you is not just a job you do, you care.  And, it may help your family feel more connected to what you do.

5.  The fork goes on the left.
I led a ministry for many years that had a weekly large group Lunch Program.  We put table covering on the tables with a napkin on the left of where the plate would go with the fork on the napkin.  That is the correct place for the fork to go.  My students laughed about my insistence about it.  But, they did it.  Little things and little habits demonstrate your commitment to EXCELLENCE.  Or, does your ministry do the little things in a way that communicates....mediocre, just get by is good enough here.  NO; the fork goes on the LEFT.

6.  Dress the part.
Are you ever frustrated by the lack of being treated as a professional or a peer by school officials or pastors?  When you go to meetings with them, do you dress like a professional? Jeans with holes in them may be great with students (and sometimes cost a lot) but it may not communicate that you are a highly competent professional that should be treated like one.  When I go to a "neck tie meeting", I wear a neck tie.  When I go to a "business casual meeting", I wear a sweater and slacks.  What do you wear?  How are you treated?

7.  Do well what you do well.
What is the thing that you do best?  What is your strength in college ministry?  Are you doing it the best you can do it?  Or, are you slacking on it to spend time on other things?  Or, are you slacking on it because you know you can and still get by acceptably?  Every ministry has one or two things that make the difference.  Your strength likely is one of those one or two things.  Make sure you do well what it is that you do well.

AND, I make my bed every morning.  Do you?

Arliss Dickerson's paperback version of FIXING A BROKEN COLLEGE MINISTRY is available for a reduced price of $3.99 at during this holiday period.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving and a Book Bargain

Happy Thanksgiving to all.  Recent studies show that an attitude of gratitude is beneficial to your health. Wow!  I visited with a friend recently who is going through a difficult season. He is trying to discern God's direction for a new calling. He told me that each morning he tries to write down two or three things for which he is grateful. I am grateful for all of you that are part of the College Ministry family!  I pray rest and rejuvenation for you during this brief holiday to make the end of semester dash.

Right now on our Facebook page, "College Ministry Resources by Arliss Dickerson" is information about a book bargain.

Remember lettuce is dangerous this holiday and chocolate is not!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Happy Wife...Happy Life/Don't Grouse with your Spouse!

"No, you did NOT tell me you were going to be gone then!"  We have had that conversation more than once at my house.  How about you?  Those who work in college ministry have crazy schedules and work at odd times.  It takes a spouse who shares God's calling to college ministry or is committed to that calling in their spouse's life.

But, we are wrong, if we think they just need to understand.  Even when your spouse does understand, we must work at having the best possible home life and relationship with our spouse and children.

Here are 5 Suggestions for a Better Home Life in the College Ministry World:

1.  Keep a calendar at home that has all your work and travel dates, special events, etc on it.

2.  Be home when you say you will or call/text that you are running behind schedule.
-You will run behind schedule often, but letting your spouse know makes a difference!

3.  Arrange your schedule so that you can pick up your kids from school once a week.  That communicates a ton and blesses you with that time with young children.  They will be grown and gone soon.

4.  Remember and remind yourself that your spouse is more important than your best student!
Your best student leader quitting is painful.....BUT your spouse "quitting" is catastrophic!!

5.  Have a standing "Lunch Date Day".
When kids are in school, lunch does not require a babysitter.  Lunch is cheaper.  An every week forty-five minute lunch together might even be better than a once a month "date night".  But, "Lunch Date Day" AND Date Night is a big winner!

Arliss Dickerson is the author of five books on college ministry in eBook format available at for 99 cents each.  Check out on Facebook, "College Ministry Resources by Arliss Dickerson".