Campus ministry as leadership funnel not general discipleship

All ministry is about making disciples and helping people mature in Christ. Even a cutting edge evangelistic ministry, if successful, ought to work hard at following up and maturing its new converts.

And yet as a focus, I believe campus ministry (or uni ministry or ‘college’ ministry in the US) should have a particular focus on evangelism and leadership development.

Here’s a few ways that focus works out on the leadership development front:

The whole flow of the campus ministry is basically a funnel helping you narrow down the people to really work with to disciple, equip, coach and mentor as Christian leaders. You can’t really ask a group of 17 year old Christians ‘Do you want to be a Christian leader?’ They don’t know how to make cheese on toast, and may not even be Christians at all! So you narrow it down slowly:

  1. Those who commit to your campus group narrows the pool somewhat

  2. Those who further commit to taking on some formal role of leadership or team involvement narrows it down still further

General Leadership Training

Out of this smaller group you focus your attentions in discipleship, training and coaching. What are the general skills and convictions and character you would like to impart to them, by God’s Spirit, so that they are set up well to serve Christ into the future?

Beware of over-training. Training your general leaders in proportion to them putting things into practise. Train them in the basics, don’t just make them passive recipients of training courses. Training them in the context of actual ministry work that is building the ministry on campus, not in theoretical contexts.

(While being in favour of some amount of cold-contact evangelism, I do worry that sometimes the whole process of cold contact evangelism can become quite quite and toxic in campus ministry. We don’t REALLY do it to see people converted, but simply to provide a context to radicalise young Christians and help them articulate and defend the gospel. The problem with this MIGHT be that it creates a perverse vision of what ‘radical’ Christianity looks like, and equips people in an abstract skill: gospel dialogue with strangers).

Full Time Ministry Training

Out of this general group, there will then be those who are uniquely suited to leadership of churches, ministries, missions, church plants.

You choose those who are gifted, godly. But also those with whom you click and those who are actually keen to give more to the mission on campus.

These are the ones you give your most intensive mentoring, training and coaching.

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