University Ministry | Meeting 2
This week I’m in Dallas as part of the University Ministry Leadership Community at Leadership Network. This group had its initial launch meeting in the spring as 9 churches and ministry organizations from around the country came together to share their visions for university ministry and develop new, innovative strategies for reaching college students. This is a great group full of energy, passion, and experience.
Yesterday began with an update on the 6-month strategic plans the teams set in motion after leaving our first gathering 6 months ago. We took time to celebrate the successes, learn about new happenings, and raise critical unanswered questions. Following that time, we heard from Noel Heikkinen, one of the Pastors at Riverview Church in the Lansing, MI area. Noel shared a bit about their ministry to students in and around Michigan State, and then raised some of the tensions they have addressed in their ministry. You can see all of these illustrated by the live scribing of Keith Young below, but some of the tensions raised were:
- The Attractional vs. Missional Tension – drawing college students to a church venue vs. establishing something on campus.
- Focus on Life Now vs. Life After – developing students for life and leadership in college vs. developing them for life and leadership post-graduation
- Target Services and Programs vs. Church Family Services and Programs – drawing college students into services and programs specifically for them vs. integrating them into the broader life of the church family
Noel shared that, in every case, they attempted to address these tensions with an “either, or” strategy. But over time they found themselves being more effective by employing “both, and” initiatives. Noel challenged the group to think about ways to balance these tensions as they examine their own models for university ministry.
Think about these:
What tensions do you experience in your efforts to reach and develop university students?
Where have you landed on these?
Where have you found success?
What unanswered questions do you still have?