That time of year again. For college students, it’s conference time due to vacation schedules and more availability. The Urbana Conference convened in St. Louis while our network’s World Missions Summit was held in Forth Worth. I have fond memories of conferences throughout the years both as a student and as a ministry director. Some have been on college ministry, small group dynamics, church growth, prayer and worship, etc. They are great for networking, learning, being challenged, and hearing from veterans who have the life experience that could greatly enhance our own ministries.
But, they can also be problematic. The atmosphere and experience of a power-packed gathering is not always indicative of daily life. It takes maturity to re-enter properly without driving away those who didn’t attend. Here’s some things to consider upon your return to campus:
- Tell you pastor everything he’s doing wrong and how your ministry’s priorities need to be reordered.
- Make comparisons between your leadership and the conference hosts.
- Insist that your worship leader changes everything to match the team at the conference. Hound your worship team with bootlegged CDs and YouTube links so they can learn the more anointed songs.
- Follow everything they told you at the conference including the 12 steps to revival in your ministry, without regard to the specific dynamics of where God has planted you.
- Put everything on hold because of your new revelation. You are God’s person of power for the hour. It’s up to you to usher in a new age of ministry.
- Suggest that all services and small groups be suspended because all you need to do is pray and bask in God’s Presence.
- Forget all your current responsibilities because of a passing euphoric feeling
- Pack up all your bags, quit your job, drop out of school, and wait for God to give you a mission.
Ok, maybe I’m being a little sarcastic but I’m sure you get the idea. To help preserve some sanity and protect relationships, try this out:
- Can you hold onto your suggestions until the middle of February?
- Make an appointment with your leader/pastor and ask if you could share some ideas.
- How are you participating in things that are already in place. God spoke to you about prayer. Have you been regularly attending your ministry’s prayer meetings? Do you know when your ministry’s prayer services are?
- God spoke to you about sharing your faith. Will it last longer than one month? How is your ministry already expressing its faith in the community?
- Instead of adding meetings, how are you personally going to respond to what you learned and observed?
- While it might have been a great experience and a spiritual high, what’s the takeaway?
- Focus on how God wants to change you, not your ministry.
But I would also say to leaders:
- Don’t be threatened by your students’ enthusiasm.
- Don’t let your insecurity stifle their creativity.
- Remember, God can speak to you through your students.
- Capitalize on their new found zeal and get them plugged into areas where they can apply their energy.
- Take the initiative to ask them what they learned. Listen not to their hearts, not their adrenaline.
- Take their ideas before God and let Him make the call.
For my fellow campus ministers, have a great spring semester! God’s blessings on you for pressing forward in glorifying God on your campuses!