There seems to be about twenty minutes between Spring Break and final exams on college campuses. Students return from Spring Break adventures with one thing on their minds—SUMMER! Unfortunately, students have tests, research papers, work, maintaining scholarships, and so many other things that must be considered prior to summer’s arrival. College pastors often return from Spring Break mission trips ready for the change of rhythm that comes with summer as well. A focus on these three post-Spring Break tasks can help keep you and your students engaged when Spring fever begins to spread.
- Look for and nurture new life.
“Old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (HCSB)
The new life found in Spring is everywhere. From tulips and daffodils blooming on college campuses to painted toenails showing through flip flops and busy intramural fields, it’s easy to spot new life on college campuses this time of year. Last week, I met a Freshman named Victoria at our Wednesday night college service. It was her first time at our church. She drove 45 minutes by herself to attend. Why? She was determined to find something fresh and new prior to the semester ending. Students seem to be more open to life-giving conversations this time of year. Go on campus. Meet students who are new to you. Talk, laugh, learn stories, and discuss the Giver of new life.
- Mentor those who will lead your Freshman ministry in the Fall.
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36 (NLT)
Over 2 million traditional first-time Freshmen are expected to walk on college campuses across the United States in the Fall. There will be crowds of them, and they will likely be confused and helpless. Perhaps, the most effective shepherds they can have are students just ahead of them in the journey. Effective use of your April and May will prioritize selecting and training students who are about to complete their Freshmen and Sophomore years to lead your ministry to Freshmen Ministry in the Fall. Select students who meet others easily and who represent multiple segments of campus life to lead your Freshmen Ministry. Who leads this ministry will determine who participates in this ministry. Invest in these students weekly for the remainder of the semester. Your investment will be multiplied this Fall.
- Plan the details for your Fall schedule.
“The plans of the diligent certainly lead to profit, but anyone who is reckless only becomes poor.” Proverbs 21:5 (HCSB)
As you meet incoming students this summer, be ready to let them know what you are looking forward to in the Fall. A night of worship? Labor Day Retreat? Welcome BBQ? Be ready to give them a specific invitation. This will lead to profit. A vague, “hope to see you this Fall” will likely lead to nothing. Create a plan now that will make it easier to meet new students on campus this Summer and Fall.
Enjoy the “20 minutes” before final exams. Watch college baseball. Buy a student a snow cone. Go barefoot. Spring fever is real for college ministers, too. But, intentionally focus on these three tasks even in the midst of Spring fever.
LINDA WEIR is Director of College and Ascend Ministries for Pinelake, a multisite church across Mississippi. She is completing her thirtieth year in college ministry.