This fall as we were exploring what a new college ministry from Schweitzer would look like we thought it would be a good idea to talk with students about the idea. We gathered groups of students together and asked them four questions. This is a summary of their answers to one of those questions.
What are you looking for in a campus ministry?
The primary item discussed in looking at a campus ministry was that it had welcoming people, and provided a comfortable environment. They want the atmosphere to facilitate hanging out and the programming to minimize the possibility of cliques. The biggest shortcoming they say of current campus ministries is that they don’t have significant outreach and follow up with visitors. The relational connection is incredibly important. Students also say they’re looking for a ministry that understands the “flakiness” of students and doesn’t guilt them into participating. As part of the student situation they’re looking for events that are under an hour in duration so there is time for fellowship. Numerous students also said it was important that there was clarity about how to get more involved in the ministry: they want easy steps that don’t involve a huge commitment to test being in leadership. Ultimately the students say the success of a ministry hangs on it’s ability to be a both/and environment where visitors feel welcomed and can build relationships but aren’t harassed into participation.