Search This Blog

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Characteristics and Skills of an Effective Leader

A survey of pastors a number of years ago found that a majority of them did not consider themselves a leader.  Yet, those of us in ministry and particularly college ministry are expected to be leaders.  Some leadership ability is innate...just a gift from the Lord, but some leadership is learned and being willing to be a leader.  No matter your skills, gifts, or experience as a leader, you can choose to grow in that role.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A LEADER:

1.  INTEGRITY - A leader models and demonstrates what he or she says.

2.  PERSONAL DISCIPLINE - An effective leader studies, prepares and has a commitment to excellence.  A leader cannot expect more from those they are leading than they demonstrate in their own life.

3.COURAGE - Sometimes a leader must make an unpopular decision or confront situations when necessary.  It takes courage to do it and then to stand with the decision as criticism comes.

TASKS OF A LEADER:

1.  TEAM BUILDING - They realize he or she is not a one man show and they help others buy into and share ownership.  If others own, they will invest more to keep it from sinking.

2.  TASK FOCUS - It is necessary to identify what needs doing and keep the main thing the main thing.  When there is more to be done than can be done, which do we do?  The loudest noise is not always the most important.

3.  TEAM MEMBER DEVELOPMENT -  It is helping each person develop and enhance their God-given gifts and abilities.  A question to ask is, "Are your co-workers or team members better as a result of being under your leadership?"

What is YOUR STRENGTH and what is YOUR WEAKNESS and are you addressing or maximizing either in any way?

Who is a leader from whom you can learn?  Watch and benefit from what you see in them.


Arliss Dickerson is a part time college ministry consultant for Lifeway Christian Resources and the author of five books on college ministry in eBook and print at amazon.com (type in Arliss Dickerson).

Sunday, February 16, 2020

3 Important College Ministry Dates

COLLEGE METRO - March 31-April 2
Raleigh, North Carolina
College Metro is the annual gathering done by and for church College Ministers.

THE COLLEGE MINISTERS FELLOWSHIP - July 13-15
Shreveport, Louisiana
The College Ministers  Fellowship is an annual gathering made up primarily of BCM/BSU/BSM College Ministers but open to all doing college ministry.

THE NATIONAL COLLEGIATE MINISTRIES SUMMIT - May 5-7, 2021
First Baptist Church, Hendersonville, Tennessee (Nashville area)
The Summit is a once every three year gathering of 600-700 College Ministers of both church and campus based ministries.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Time to Think FALL Freshmen Ministry?????

Time to think Fall Freshmen Ministry?  What...Spring Break has not happened yet and every student that comes around me has the flu or the winter blahs....so, what is this FALL Freshmen Ministry timing?

FIRST, LET'S TALK ABOUT WHY DO AN INTENTIONAL FRESHMEN MINISTRY:

-70% of high school seniors active in church make NO spiritual connection at college and many are walking away from faith.

-Many college students ship wreck their lives during the first semester of college....or at least put a pretty big dent in it.

-Freshmen are the most reachable group on campus.  They have not established their patterns and habits yet AND they are looking for friends and connections.

-One thing any ministry can do that larger ministries do is have an intentional plan for reaching freshmen.  It can be elaborate....even expensive or it can be simple, but intentional.  It can increase significantly the number of students your ministry is touching.

WHY THINK ABOUT FALL FRESHMEN MINISTRY NOW....NOW:

-First, it is all about calendar.  Many colleges now have some Orientation/Registration sessions for incoming freshmen even before school is out.  This is often for the highly recruited students and many of your leader types.  If your ministry is a Recognized Student Organization or work directly with a ministry that is, it may be possible for your ministry to have a display at these events.  You cannot be there, if you do not know when it is.  While you are at it, get the dates for Summer Orientations on your calendar which may affect your summer plans.

-If there are churches with larger youth groups whose students often come to your campus as freshmen, could you schedule a date to go and visit their Youth Ministry or Senior Sunday School Class.  Do they have "Senior Sunday", when is it?  Could we get a list?

-If your ministry will have one or more upperclass led Freshmen Bible study groups, who will lead them?  Now, is the time to begin to enlist this leader or leaders. 

-If your ministry will have one ore more Freshmen Bible study groups, what material will they study?
Now is the time to begin to look at different materials or to begin to write or at least lay out an outline of what they will cover.

-Set a time to begin to train and prepare the student or students who will lead these Freshmen Bible Study groups.

-Begin to pray about the Freshmen Ministry for the fall.

-If you will giving some sort of promotional giveaway, it may be time to order it.  Even now, an attractive promotional piece aimed at Freshmen can be designed.

-Talk to a ministry friend or colleague that does Freshmen Ministry well and learn from their victories and mistakes.

ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL ENLISTMENT TOOLS:

There is power in receiving a handwritten note.  I recently heard an interview with a Head Football Coach of one of the nationally known college teams.  An interviewer ask how they had such a great recruiting class this year.  He said one thing they believe in strongly is that each of their staff write Five (5) handwritten notes a day.....A DAY!  What if you and/or your ministry began to write two to five handwritten notes to students who you know will be coming in the fall.  When your ministry gets the name of a student who is or MIGHT be coming to your campus, write them.  Write a personal note to the pastors or youth ministers in your area asking them to point students your direction and to let you know who is coming. 

If there are 90 school days left in the semester and you wrote just two handwritten notes a day, that would be one hundred eighty (180) before school is out.

One of the truisms of college ministry is "Good falls are made in the summer."  AND, planning in the spring semester makes for an effective summer!

Arliss Dickerson is a part time college ministry consultant for Lifeway Christian Resources and the author of five books on college ministry in eBook and print available at amazon.com (type in Arliss Dickerson).





Monday, February 10, 2020

Trends in College Ministry

In speaking and writing about trends in college ministry, it is always difficult to make sweeping generalizations.  Trends vary area to area and state to state.  So, what is true in one area is not in another part of the country.  As is the case in what is trending in any area, there are usually good and bad results of those trends and good and bad things that influence or cause those trends.  Here are some trends I see.

1.  MORE CHURCHES ARE DOING COLLEGE MINISTRY.
This is true basically in the south where there are lots of churches.  This is good in that we recognize the importance of reaching today's generation.  The negative side of it is there is a greater sense of "competition" between different churches and campus based ministries rather than an attempt to work together for the overall good.

2.  THERE IS A GREATER EMPHASIS ON EVANGELISM ON CAMPUS.
This is a good thing and result of a growing number of young adults who are not Christians.  The back side of this is sometimes what is seen as not facing and dealing with the reality of the large number of "high school Christians" walking away from faith in college.

3.  COLLEGE EVENTS ARE BECOMING MORE CHURCH LIKE.
Partly as a result of a need for greater evangelistic emphasis, many weekly college events are becoming more like "Sunday Church Services".  My concern here is that why should students who are turned off to church go to a college student version of it? Or, why attend a church, when they "go to church" at a campus ministry? We can share the Gospel in the midst of fun and talking about student issues that are not general church topics.

4.  MORE COLLEGE MINISTERS ARE MOVING TO SENIOR PASTOR ROLES.
This is a combination of things in that as college ministries become more "church like", College Ministers are being more "Preacher Like".  And, as churches become less traditional, they are looking for pastors who are more creative in their approach and leadership style.  Obviously, salary issues continue to be a factor here.

5.  CAMPUS BASED COLLEGE MINISTERS CONTINUE TO BE ASSIGNED MORE OFF CAMPUS ROLES.
Those College Ministers who are employed by state conventions continue to be assigned more responsibilities apart from their local campus.  For some, it is having responsibility for additional campuses and for others, it is serving as a regional youth and young adult ministry consultant.

6.  MORE COLLEGE MINISTERS ARE RAISING ALL OR PART OF THEIR SALARIES.
As people are seeing the need for College Ministry and experiencing God's call to different places where funding is not available, more are raising their salaries to serve.  One Southern Baptist State Convention currently is requiring their employed College Ministers to raise a part of their annual salary.  Some see more freedom in raising their salaries while others feel more different pulls.

7.  THERE IS A GREATER EMPHASIS ON SHORT TERM MISSIONS OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS.
As more and more students are required to do internships in the summer or work to save as much money for school as possible, there is a greater emphasis on short term projects that allow a wider variety of students to serve.

8.  DISASTER RELIEF PROJECTS ARE GROWING AS COLLEGE STUDENT OPTIONS.
Many college ministries are even partnering with college administrations, other campus clubs, etc in doing Disaster Relief projects.  These serve dual purposes in providing additional funding and involving non-believers with Christian students for a brief but concentrated time.  And, it makes many college administrations more friendly toward Christian groups doing Disaster Relief.

9. THERE ARE MORE PART TIME COLLEGE MINISTERS.
This is a result of more campus sites being developed by many colleges and states.  This is a way to touch more campuses and is also a result of funding declines among state convention supported college ministry positions.

10. CAMPUS BASED COLLEGE MINISTERS CONTINUE TO BECOME MORE CREATIVE IN BUDGETING AND FINANCING THEIR MINISTRIES.
Some campus based ministries now have "Coffee Shops" in their ministry centers which serve as both an outreach to the campus and a revenue source for the ministry or part time jobs for students involved in the ministry.  Others are seeing the need to connect more to alumni and other individual based funding.

11. MORE COLLEGE STUDENTS ARE GOING TO COLLEGE ON LINE!
And, we are not doing a very good job of talking about how to deal with this phenomenon,  Even students living on a residential campus, are taking more of their classes on line which more causes them to isolate in their room or apartment.

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 and print at amazon.com (type in Arliss Dickerson).

Thursday, February 6, 2020

4 More Things True in Every College Ministry

College ministries come in all shapes and sizes...especially sizes and resources.  But, there are some things that are true in all of them that make them effective.  David Worcester has a great article (“What Works Everywhere in College Ministry”) at collegeministry.com with four he believes are true in all of them.  I want to add four that I think are true in all college ministries.

1.  ONE TO ONE MEETINGS WITH STUDENTS ARE THE MOST TRANSFORMATIVE THING THAT WE CAN DO.
God uses many things in ministry, but I am wholeheartedly convinced that the most transformative thing in a student's life is meeting with them on a one to one basis.  I believe in large group weekly events and believe that God uses them to touch lots of different students who are at different places in their walk with the Lord or as non-believers.  But, our meeting privately on a regular basis with a student to hear from them their concerns and questions and to encourage them is huge.  We do not have time to do this with all our students, if our ministry is very large, But,  I believe in doing this with our key leaders.  God will use it to shape their lives as we encourage, teach and model faith to them, and pray about their concerns, etc.  This is true in all different types and sizes of ministries.

2. TRAINED AND EMPOWERED STUDENT LEADERS MULTIPLY OUR MINISTRY AND OUR TIME.
Whether a ministry has two effective student leaders or fifty, it is stronger. Student leaders need to be helped to understand what they are to do and how they are to do it.  The "throw them out and let them sink or swim" method of student leadership training mostly leads to lots of discouragement and less than effective leadership.  Part of helping student leaders be and feel successful is helping them to know clearly what they are to do and some possible ways to do it.  Then, they must be given the opportunity to express their personality and gifts in doing it.

3.  WHEN STUDENTS OWN A MINISTRY THEY INVEST MORE IN IT.
Investment is not about money, but rather it is about giving to a ministry rather than just taking or receiving from it.  Students own it when they believe that their involvement matters and that what they say and do matters.  One way that we give ownership is by allowing students to have a voice in key decisions. When students know that we believe in them and trust them, it empowers them and usually brings out a greater investment on their part.  As the leader, we may need to make the final decision, but students can know their voice is heard.  And, there are other times, that the decision can be strictly theirs.  When they feel some "responsibility" for the success and or failure of the ministry, they will own and invest more.

4.  ALL MINISTRIES NEED SUPPORT.
Support comes in lots of different ways.  An obvious one is financial.  Money does not make a ministry, but it is hard to have one without money.  But, even more important often is emotional support and prayer support.  One of the two biggest killers of College Ministers is feeling alone.  It can be that feeling that "no one cares but me."  The more people who care and pray, the more likely the ministry is to thrive and the leader be at his or her best.  If you are a college ministry leader, are you giving people the opportunity to be a support and to care?  Information is part of what leads to caring and supporting.  Let people know what is happening and more will begin to care and support.
Others can be the instrument that God uses to help you know that you are cared about and that a particular college ministry is cared about.

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 and print at amazon.com (type in Arliss Dickerson).

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Are You a Speaker or a Preacher?

For a variety of reasons, I consider myself a speaker and not a preacher.  Partly, it relates to being a College Minister where we often speak in very "non-churchy" situations.  I have spoken for football pre-game chapels in a bar and have often been asked to be the emcee of a variety of events.  And, primarily I have spoken for Lunch Programs (where you have a solid 15 minutes) or just campus Christian weekly events.  I also remember as a kid that I asked my dad one time, "What is the difference in a speaker and a preacher?"  I had noticed that sometimes my church would announce that someone was coming to speak and other times they would say someone was coming to preach.  My dad scratched his head, thought a minute and said, "I think when you speak you have to have something to say."  People have often told me, "You don't sound like a preacher."  Some mean it as a compliment. 

Having attended somewhere in the neighborhood of more than 900 Lunch Programs at Arkansas State University Baptist Collegiate Ministry, I have seen speaking and preaching done a variety of ways and received....a variety of ways. 

Here are my thoughts on speaking to college students:

1.  BE RELATABLE
Coming across as human and likable is huge.  Tone is huge.  Sound and act like you are glad to be where you are and are not mad at anybody.  Using a normal tone of voice and smiling helps a lot.

2.TELL A STORY
We all love stories.  We listen to stories.  We remember stories.  Funny stories are the best....and that is different than corny jokes.  Don't read a story...tell it.  If it is a story on yourself acting dumb, that is even better.  But, it does not have to be about you and it does not have to be funny.  Just tell a story.

3.BE PRACTICAL
Tell how it relates to Bible and life.  Today's young adult wants to know more about how it works in life or affects their life than what 42 different scholars think about a Bible passage....and I am not knocking correct scholarly understanding.

4.  QUIT BEFORE THEY QUIT
Short and good is never bad.  Don't "over-talk" it. 

5.  GET OUT FROM BEHIND THE PULPIT OR LECTERN
Some years ago I quit standing behind anything.  I think for "non-churchy" students, that pulpit or lectern is a barrier.  It seems too formal or it reminds them of those boring classes where the prof reads from yellowed notes.

6.  HANG OUT
Talk to people before and after the event.  Be one of the group. 

7.  ASK A QUESTION
"How many of you have ever.....?"  I do that a lot and hold my hand up and invite a similar response.  Students tend to feel included in what is being said.  I even sometimes ask a question and then give a Gift Card for a free meal to a popular student eating place to the first one who answers.  You likely are not surprised how that picks up interest.

8.  DON'T READ IT
I have seen great content read to students that they did not listen to because it was read.  Tell what you have to say....don't read it.

9.  PRACTICE IT OUT LOUD FIRST
That's hard to do, I know.  But, it just makes it better!

Arliss Dickerson is a part time college ministry consultant for Lifeway Christian Resources and the author of five books on college ministry in eBook and print at amazon.com (type in Arliss Dickerson).

Thursday, January 23, 2020

5 Tips for College Ministers

5 WAYS TO GET MORE DONE:

1.  Do not open Social Media  before 11:00 a.m.
2.  Do your prep work for speaking away from campus (It will get done quicker.).
3.  Schedule a time each week that is "paperwork time".
4.  Keep a file that you throw "talk ideas" into.
5.  Schedule one day a month to hide out and work on major projects (Developing a speaking series, Laying out your topics for a semester, scheduling speakers for your Lunch Program, etc).

5 THINGS THAT CAN GET A COLLEGE MINISTER FIRED:

1.  Misbehavior or the appearance of misbehavior with students.
2.  Not keeping your supervisor in the loop about major issues or changes in the ministry.
3.  Breaking work rules....even though they are dumb rules.
4.  Posting stuff on social media related to politics or religious issues.  Beware of sites you visit than can show up.
5.  Breaking unwritten rules.  YES!  There are always unwritten rules, or "Everybody knows..."

5 IDEAS TO INCREASE YOUR CAMPUS INFLUENCE OR ENLARGE YOUR MINISTRY:

1.  Visit different college ministries on two different campuses for ideas.
2.  Invite a different fraternity/sorority or campus club to be special guests at one of your events or to co-sponsor an event with your ministry.
3.Volunteer to speak in Leadership classes or Freshmen Development classes.
4.  Volunteer one day a month on campus helping some department or group.
5.  Volunteer to sponsor a club on campus (Tennis, chess, etc).

5 THINGS THAT CAN RUIN YOUR REPUTATION OR THE REPUTATION OF YOUR MINISTRY:

1.  Anger and Language issues.
2.  Sloppiness with ministry money.
3.  Poor outside appearance of campus ministry centers (Most will just see the outside.).
4.  Not being cooperative with area churches.
5.  Not returning messages or calls and having no work schedule where others can connect with you.

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 and print at amazon.com (type in Arliss Dickerson).