Christmastime is here—happiness and cheer. Yes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. But for those of us involved in college ministry, it’s also a strategic time of year. As we wind down a fall semester filled with evangelism, discipleship, leadership development, retreats and campus outreach, the upcoming break provides a needed respite from the seemingly unending schedule of the past 3 months. Looking ahead, though, the Christmas break is also a strategic runway for the spring semester. God began many things on campus this fall that He will continue or finish in the spring.
In that vein, I want to ask my students some key questions in order to maximize the break for the sake of the spring. So here goes…
Will you influence others more than they influence you? After connecting to Christian community on campus for the past semester, going back home for an extended time can be tough. For many, friendships from the past pose a challenge to faithfulness to Jesus in the present. So are you going to intentionally seek to influence them with gospel-living more than they influence you in worldly-living?
Will you share what God has done in your life this semester? Perhaps it’s with your parents, grandparents, cousins, friend or neighbor, but if God has done a work in your life or on your campus, then tell somebody!
Will you use a more flexible schedule to pursue the spiritual disciplines? When I was in college, the Christmas break gave me some of the most free time I had all year. Use that extra flexibility to cultivate more consistency in pursuing Jesus through reading, prayer, journaling, etc.
What mission/service opportunities do you need to pray towards for next semester? Most college ministries offer missions/service opportunities over Spring Break or summer. You may be praying about one right now. Or, perhaps you’ve already written them off. Not so fast. Over the break, pray about how God might be leading you towards serving others on a short-term opportunity.
Which friends need you to invest in them next semester? God has intentionally placed lives around you this past semester for the purpose of disciple-making. Over the break, strategically pray for students whom you might invest in next semester.
Where do you need to grow in your own walk with Jesus in the new year? Whether it’s areas of discipline, theology, or personality, we all need to grow. But before we can grow, we must identify where we need to grow. Then, we ask others to help us get there. Take time to process through some of those areas over the break. When classes resume, identify a mentor who can help lead you towards that growth.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of questions. But I hope they give you a good start as you transition back home for the next few weeks. Merry Christmas!
Chris James serves as Boston Collegiate Coordinator for the Baptist Convention of New England where he serves as Pastor of Mill City Church & Christian Student Fellowship, a multi-site ministry reaching students at UMASS Lowell. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi (BA) and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv).