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Monday, June 20, 2022

Church College Ministers and the First Three Weeks

 I served as a Campus Minister on campus with a Center for many years and as a Church College Minister at a church away from campus for two years.  I think the campus based one has an advantage of opportunities those first couple of weeks.  So, what can a Church Campus Minister do those first few weeks.

I 200% believe in the college ministry axiom that "The first 2-3 weeks determine your whole year."  My only slight hedge on it is I believe that the window is already partly closed in that third week.  However, I do believe that the church opportunity window lasts up to three Sundays.  

So, what are some things the Church College Minister Can and Should do the first 2 weeks and 3 Sundays?

1.  If any of those first 3 weekends is a home football game weekend, MAKE THE MOST OF IT! If students are going to be on campus in mass, it is going to be that weekend.  That is a great Friday or Saturday to do something.  And, make the absolute most of that Sunday.  If your church has College Sunday School prior to worship, have a big breakfast.  It can be potluck by adult volunteers or it can be your leaders cooking pancakes and doing bacon and biscuits on the spot.  BUT, also do whatever you do on a regular Sunday even if it must be abbreviated.  Make sure students experience what happens there every Sunday and to see why they might want to be a part of it.

If your church does not do College Sunday School, do a Lunch following worship.  Make sure it is college friendly food with lots of great homemade desserts...even enough they can take to-go plates when they leave.  

2.  Be on campus as much as possible those first 2-3 weeks.  Eat where students eat...cafeterias, food courts, etc.  Announce at events or on social media that you will be in the Union Food Court at X time on Tuesdays and would love to eat with whomever....and depending on your budget.....that you will buy.  Announce another day you will be in the Cafeteria at X time and would love to eat with whoever is there then.

3.  Move your weeknight to campus for a special "On Campus Night".  If your ministry has a Wednesday night Bible study or worship event, move it to a meeting room or ballroom on campus for one of the first two or three.  Make it like your regular event, but with an extra appealing topic for promotion and if possible, have food afterwards.  This usually has to be catered by the college food service.  So, be prepared for high prices.

4.  Attend EVERY event of the BCM or other campus ministry related to your church.  It develops relationships with new students and shows support of that ministry.

5.  Make follow-up appointments with every new student who attends any of your events.  Meet them for coffee, cokes or whatever.  Tell them they can bring their roommate or another friend.  This can serve two purposes. It may make them feel more at ease about coming AND you may meet someone else new.

6.  Whatever you think will be your biggest initial Sunday, have students do something in the worship service.  It can be one student giving a testimony.  Students can take up the offering.  There can be students in the worship band or it can be your all student worship band. It can even by "Bearcat Sunday" where you have asked the church as a whole to come in school attire or colors.

7.  Have a variety of age Church Members who are great mixer/minglers at all your events.  The huge plus that a church ministry has that a campus based ministry does not is the opportunity to connect students to real life adults who can encourage, mentor, and add wisdom.  Students want to learn from older adults and this connects them to the church as a whole...not just the college ministry.

8.  Tee shirts that promote your weeknight event or ministry as a whole are huge.  Depending on your budget, give them to upper class returning students, sell them super cheap, or give away 50 at your first event of the year.  But, make sure they are attractive and comfortable.  REMEMBER ONE OF THE TEE SHIRT PRINCIPLES:  GIRLS WILL WEAR A "GUY SHIRT" BUT GUYS WILL NOT WEAR A "GIRL SHIRT."  Get student input on design and before ordering.  As students have said, "The reason you go to college is to get good tee shirts."

Arliss Dickerson's book, Tips for College Freshmen:  124 Tips for Fun, Faith & Good Grades, is available at

Friday, June 17, 2022

Two College Ministry Jobs

 Texas Baptist Student Ministry has two Campus Minister positions open: Texas college ministry is widely known for the quality of their ministries and their investment in and development of young College Ministers.

Sul Ross State University located in Alpine, Texas is a campus of 1800 students.

University of North Texas is located in Denton with an enrollment of 40,000 students.

For more information or to submit a resume, contact Clayton Bullion at

Arliss Dickerson's book, Tips for College Freshmen:  124 Tips for Fun, Faith & Good Grades, is available at

Thursday, June 16, 2022

8 Quick Freshman Ministry Tips by Stacy Murphree

 1.  Go into it with a plan.  You must have a set plan and strategy for reaching Freshmen.  Iit's not something you can just "win" and expect results.  It is strategic ministry that needs our time and attention.  Freshmen students can be easy to reach but also easy to lose.  Having a plan is essential.

2.  Have a strong Welcome Week.  We all know the importance of the first 2-3 weeks of Fall semester ministry.  Have a good mix of events that include things that will draw a crowd and things that will allow for intentional one-on-one conversations.  Don't miss the "window of Welcome Week".  That window will close and you will not get that time back.

3. Capitalize on the free time Freshmen students have.  They have more freedom and more free time than any other college student.  Involve them, mobilize them, and give them a job to do.  Freshmen students are often more open to community and the gospel.  Take advantage of the free time they have to truly invest in them.

4. Pray for incoming Freshmen.  This is simple but begin praying for Freshmen students by name as soon as you begin gather contacts over the summer.

5. Have a solid plan for follow-up.  Make it a goal for your ministry to follow up individually with each Freshman that attends a Welcome Week event with a text or message.  Take that a step further and challenge your team to follow up individually for coffee or lunch for a gospel appointment conversation.

6.  Connect Freshmen students to other Freshmen students.  They need community and friends right where they are in life.

7.  Know the places on campus where Freshmen are likely to do life and target those areas.  There are Freshmen dorms, the places on your campus where they are likely to eat and hang out, etc.

8.  You can never over-emphasize a small group strategy for Freshmen.  Have one or more discipleship/family groups just for Freshmen led by upperclassmen.  Equip your leaders to know that it is not just about leading a Bible study for Freshmen, but this is about being able to minister to one of the most strategic groups on our campus.

Matthew 9:37-38 "The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few, therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest."  What a privilege it is to be a laborer in the harvest field of Freshmen ministry at such a crucial time.  It might just be the most important thing you do all year to befriend a new student for the sake of the gospel!

Stacy Murphree is Collegiate Ministry Specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Convention at Austin Peay State University.

Arliss Dickerson's book, Tips for College Freshmen:  124 Tips for Fun, Faith & Good Grades, is available at

Monday, June 13, 2022

College Ministry Influencers??

 I am always fascinated by Time Magazine's list of "The World's Most Influential People".  It lists one hundred people and is divided into categories of Leaders, Artists, Pioneers, Titans, and Icons. It always makes me wonder who was number 101 or what 10 people just barely missed the list.  It also causes me to think about who are or should be influential people in the college ministry world.  I benefitted greatly when I first began by learning from folks like Ron Wells at Texas A&M and Ircel Harrison at Mississippi State.

I do not think college ministry leaders get nearly enough credit.  So, I thought I should do a "College Ministry 100".  There are two purposes for this list, first to give some credit and recognition to some who deserve it.  But, even more, here are some folks each of us can learn from.  I first started to list both non-Baptists and Baptists, but I did not think my awareness was great enough to even make a swing at that list.

 Here is my "100 Baptist College Ministry Influencers....really just 19" which comes as a result of my own thoughts, the suggestions of others I asked and those who responded to my Blog request for "nominations".  One person said in sending a name, "This person is not well known nationally but should be."  There are MANY who would fit that category.

Clayton Bullion - He served for several years at Tarleton State in Texas and is known for his efforts in discipleship and helped found Campus Multiplication Network.  He currently serves on the Texas state wide college ministry staff.

Paul Worcester - Paul first became widely known for his ministry at Chicot State and emphasis on one to one evangelism.  Since then, he has become the National Collegiate Director at the North American Mission Board. 

Steve Masters - Steve is the BCM Director at LSU and has served as the informal leader of the summer College Ministers Fellowship for many years and developed SBC Called ( which is a tool for ministerial students.  Steve's specialty is finding new ways to get freshmen names and connecting with them.  

Beth Masters - Beth has served for several years as the college ministry professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary which has done so much to promote and encourage College Ministers.  .

Jared Gregory - Jared is College Minister at FBC, Denton and is the President of  College Metro which is an organization for church College Ministers. Jared is an example of the excellent large group speaker/preacher at a weekly collegiate event.

Linda Halfacre Weir - Linda is Director of College Ministry at Pinelake Church which is a large multi-site church in Mississippi with locations in college towns. At Pinelake she also leads a large College Ministry Intern program.

Steve Shadrach - Steve is known for his book, "The God Ask" on support raising for ministry salary. He has recently done an update of his book, "The Fuel and the Flame" with Paul Worcester which is aimed at students and is being used widely.

Beverly Parrish - After the dramatic financial cuts and downsizing of staff in Georgia Baptist college ministry, Beverly is leading out in connecting churches and training volunteers to serve campuses with no fulltime Campus Minister in Georgia. She is a model in doing more with less.

Gary Stidham - He is known for his success in working on a primarily commuter campus at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) and his influence in personal evangelism and discipleship.

Michael Ball - Michael is the BSU Director at Mississippi State University where they recently built a BSU Center that will seat 400 for worship and his ministry has been known through the years for their freshmen ministry and outreach Lunch Program.

Darrell Cook - He is the BCM Director at Virginia Tech and is known for his ability to work with alumni for ministry and staff funding.  He also has led out in developing staff and sending them out to to other campuses.

Joel Bratcher - Bratcher is the BSM Director at Texas A&M and is recognized as a leader in staff development, International ministry and just making it work on a huge campus.

Tommy Johnson - Tommy serves at Western Kentucky University where he is known for his ministry to International Students and helps coordinate college ministry for the entire state.

David Buschman - Buschman is at Princeton where he is seen as a role model for ministry outside the Bible Belt.  When NAMB stopped funding Buschman and others, he began raising his salary to be able to continue to build on his years there.  Busch is famous for not answering his phone.

Ryan Scantling - Ryan is serving as Chairman of the Leadership Committee of the BCNet and has led  in providing leadership training done on line, at Summit and Collegiate Week  He is beginning his second year at the University of Arkansas after serving at Central Arkansas University.

Chris James - Chris is pastor of Mill City Church in Lowell Massachusetts.  His seminars at Collegiate Week are always packed out.  He is known for his discipleship and mentoring of guys. He is seen as an example of someone who has planted his life in a non-Baptist setting despite many "Southern Opportunities".

John Moore, Bill Noe, and Mark Whitt were nominated for their work promoting college ministry nationally as the College Ministry Leader at Lifeway Christian resources before that position was eliminated. John is semi-retired in Texas and doing Interim Pastorates.  Bill is on the statewide collegiate staff in Texas and Mark is BCM Campus Minister at Middle Tennessee State University where he is developing a model for reaching a primarily commuter campus.

Of course, there are people not on this list who deserve to be here.  I hope you will add them in some way or other.  Or, let me know for a follow-up blog article.

Arliss Dickerson's book, Tips for College Freshmen:  124 Tips for Fun, Faith & Good Grades, is available at

Thursday, June 9, 2022

The Ten Commandments of College Ministry

 A friend sent me a message yesterday that said he had found a copy of my 1997 book, The Ten Commandments of College Ministry and he felt that they still held up.  If I were writing them today, I would re-word them, but I still stand by them. Here they are.

1.  Some felt needs of students must be met in order for many students  to respond and continue to respond to a collegiate ministry.

2.  Each campus has its own atmosphere and attitudes that must be recognized and factored into the shape and style of the ministry.

3.  The perception of your ministry on campus will affect response significantly.

4. The degree to which students already in the ministry feel ownership will greatly affect their own degree of commitment and desire to involve others.

5. Students must feel known and cared for in the context of some small group in order to continue active involvement in the larger group ministry.

6.  Each collegiate ministry must adapt to the changing gifts and priorities of student leadership through the years and continue to train students for the ongoing roles that  provide the stability of the ministry.

7.  The vision the students have for the ministry and their understanding of the character of God will greatly shape the ministry.

8.  The prime role model that students see in the ministry will greatly determine the type students attracted to the ministry and the style, quality, and quantity of the ministry.

9. The long term effectiveness of a collegiate ministry will be determined by its interdependence with a broad base of churches and interested individuals who provide its emotional and financial support base.

10. A specialized Freshmen Ministry is the single most effective strategy in developing a larger collegiate ministry.

Arliss Dickerson's book, Tips for College Freshmen:  124 Tips for Fun, Faith & Good Grades, is available at

Monday, June 6, 2022

Your College Ministry Philosophy?

 What is your college ministry philosophy?  Can you write it down in a simple statement?

I would encourage you to write down your college ministry philosophy in a brief simple statement of no more than three or four sentences.

Then, write down the general outline of the ways that you and your ministry are attempting to carry out that philosophy. If you cannot write it in a simple statement, have you clarified it enough?  If you cannot then write down the outline of your plan to accomplish that statement, are you working as focused as you need to be?

I challenge you.  Write down your college ministry philosophy in a brief statement and then write the action plans that follow it.  Wanting to do good on campus is a good thing.  But, if we are not focused on a philosophy that directs our work and time, we will be frustrated by a sense of lack of accomplishment and not seeing our ministry be as productive as we would like for it to be.

It may be harder than you think AND more beneficial than you think.  Try it; I dare you!

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

Arliss Dickerson's book, Tips for College Freshmen:  124 Tips for Fun, Faith & Good Grades, is available at

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Your thoughts needed!

 I am going to do a Blog article listing some of the best and/or most influential people in the Baptist college ministry world. It may possibly be divided into two categories: campus and church. Would you tell me one or two you would put on that list? It would be helpful if you would mention their particular strength  

My purpose is not just to give them some well deserved credit, but to point all of us to people from whom we can learn in one way or another

So, email me, Facebook me, or send me a text. I need your help. Thanks!