College And Career Ministry For Dummies
By Todd Keith
This is designed to help you develop a thriving college and career ministry in your local church. The principles taught in this guide are more horse-sense than ethereal, more application-oriented than theory. They are used successfully at my home church and have helped us to grow our college and career ministry without an overabundance of heartache and pain. Please use the ideas that you find beneficial and discard those that might not be just right for your church. This is an exciting opportunity for new ministry, and I pray that you will find this guide useful in growing your own local college and career department.
Organizing A College And Career Group
The structure of a college and career ministry is an important factor to consider when laying down the foundation of a college and career ministry. The appropriate structure can lead to long-term success, while an inappropriate structure can hinder future growth potential.
Why A Team?
* Leadership: The Team Approach is a powerful and efficient structure type. Individuals in the college and career age group are hungry for leadership opportunities. The Team Approach lends itself well to this particular need because they can test out their leadership potential without being left completely on their own. A team is responsible for developing, organizing, and communicating an activity or event.
* Ownership: The Team Approach is powerful because it provides members of the group with a sense of ownership. A favorite quote that I like to use is “It’s their baby.” They get to conceive the idea, organize the idea, and communicate the idea. They handle every little detail associated with their activity/event. “It’s their baby!”
* Increased Participation: So, what’s the big deal with ownership and leadership? Have you ever noticed how much more interested you are in something that directly and immediately affects you? Have you ever noticed how much more likely it is that you will attend something if you have a part in that something? This brings me to my third point: the Team Approach is great for increasing numbers and participation. Instead of one individual trying to encourage a group to come to an event/activity, you now have a team of individuals encouraging the group to come to that event/activity and pulling for its success—it’s a beautiful thing!
* Time Saver: The Team Approach is a fantastic time saver. As mentioned earlier, the College and Career Director is no longer responsible for conceiving, organizing, and communicating all the details about a specific event. Now, you have three or four different groups working on their respective activities/events all at the same time. Control freaks beware! If you want to grow, sometimes you have to let go! If it helps you, just imagine that there are now several little “You’s” running around taking care of everything.
God has blessed us with a fantastic group of intelligent and energetic planning team members. They always do an incredible job of planning and executing each event. Several of our members were involved in various ministries before we started this ministry, but not to the extent that the Team Approach now allows. I have been surprised to see how individuals on each of our teams have developed and are continuing to develop into leaders simply because they were given an opportunity. I know the same thing can and will happen for you!
Organizing Your Teams
Let me take you through a quick example of how one might determine and organize their college and career planning teams. First, determine what you want your college and career group to do. Ask yourself, “Will my college and career group be involved in outreach? Will we have activities? Will we somehow participate in community service or fundraising?” You might need to stretch your mind a little if you’ve never had a college and career group before, but that’s okay–everything you see around you began with a single thought. This is no different. Next, divide these activities/events up into categories. Using the examples above, one might create such categories as Activities, Outreach, Community Service, and Fundraising.
Next, meet with the members, or potential members, of your college and career group and ask, “Who would like to be involved in the (Your Group Name Here) planning committee/team?” Finally, ask, “Who would like to be involved in planning activities for the group, etc.?” That’s it. Now you have your teams, and you’re ready to roll. Next, we need to start planning.
The Planning Meeting
As with most things of the bureaucratic nature, there will come the inevitable meeting. We’ve all been there. Hours of droning about mind-numbing minutia that force you to do things like count ceiling tiles or fantasize about setting the conference room table on fire just to see if anyone else in the room would ever really notice. That is the way it was, but this is not for you!
You are a proactive College and Career Director! With the following simple planning meeting tips, you can organize a quick and productive planning meeting:
* Schedule – Determine the number of planning meetings that is right for you. If you have only one activity a month, a quarterly planning meeting would be great for you, and, more importantly, great for your team. Too many meetings can suck the life right out of you! Just plan the upcoming quarter in that meeting. The best way to do it is by using the next meeting tip.
* Front-Load Your Meetings – At the risk of sounding a little negative, don’t just show up with a calendar and say “Let’s plan things!” Try to get as much information as possible out to your teams before the meeting. Let them know what you’re going to talk about, what dates the teams will be planning, and which team is responsible for which dates. This allows everyone to come to the meeting knowing what they and their teams are responsible for.
* Take A Plane Ride – Okay, this is a little bit cheesy, but it gets the point across and it works. The Plane Ride is a simple concept that helps the teams understand what level of detail is needed at each meeting. In the Plane Ride, you have three different views out your window.
1 30,000-foot View – You can see that there’s land down there, but not much more detail than that. The 30,000-foot View is simply the team brain-storming time. The team discusses what they want to do for their respective activity/events. The 30,000-foot View should take place sometime before the planning meeting, not during the planning meeting.
2 2,000-foot View – Now you’re starting to actually see houses, streets, buildings, etc. The 2,000-foot View is what happens in your planning meetings. You nail a specific activity/event down to a specific date on your group calendar. That’s it!
3 100-foot View – Finally, you can see the runway! It’s almost time to land this puppy! The 100-foot View is quite simply all the details: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How Much. The 100-foot View for each activity/event is also handled by each specific activity/event team.
The teams are responsible for getting the 100-foot View Details to the director by the 15th of each month preceding the activity. For example, if your group has a trip to the moon planned on August 28th, you need to have the 100-foot View by July 15th. It may be a little neurotic, but it works! These few methods can make a big difference in how people feel about going to another planning meeting. Hopefully, you can use some, if not all, of these tips to organize your next college and career planning meeting.
Communication in any ministry, or any organization for that matter, is important. New technology and free online services have made communicating within and between different church groups much easier and much less expensive than in the past. In this section, we’ll cover a few communication strategies that can help you communicate more efficiently with your C&C group.
Email Distribution List
Several Internet portals now offer group or community services. Yahoo!, for example, has the Yahoo! Groups feature. You can set up an email distribution list that enables you to send one email to a group email such as firstname.lastname@example.org. This email is then distributed to everyone who is a member of your group. It’s a great way to send announcements.
Another option is a website. A centralized, easily accessible information site where all your members can find out what is going and when it is going on. There are several free web-hosting sites available. Once again, I need to mention Yahoo! Groups. In addition to creating an email distribution list, Yahoo! Groups also provides your group with a group calendar, chat room, pictures forum (for uploading group pictures), and a section for polls (a good way to get group information—all free through Yahoo! Groups).
Article “College And Career Ministry For Dummies” written by Todd Keith is taken from Navigate 2 from Texas District UPCI Youth Department 2007.