Summer of College Ministry: Local Church vs Para-church
Living in the Midwest can be a joyous (and crazy) experience when it comes to the different seasons we have. Some people have their favorite season, and others enjoy all of the seasons. There are some that might not enjoy a particular season. Regardless, if you live in areas like the Midwest or Northeast, these seasons break up the calendar year up into quarters. But for some, there might be only two seasons – cold and warm, or mild and hot.
With all the seasons, there are changes that take place in God’s creation by His design that we experience every year. Usually we get used to the changes in seasons, life moves on with a change of pace or scenery. We don’t just stop because it’s a different season; we go on despite the change of seasons. We might do different activities due to the changes, or dress differently, but life goes on...
Just like in the change of seasons, those involved in local church college/young adults ministry press on during the change of “seasons.”
What do I mean?
Well, throughout the year, there are different “seasons” for those involved in college/young adults ministry. When the school year comes to a close in May, there is one group of students that have been a part of the local church community for the duration of the school year. Then there is another group that have been out of town for the same time at a different college or university. Those who have been local will be leaving to go home, while others who have been out-of-town come back home for the summer. There are new, fresh faces flooding back to these local church college/young adults groups. So there is a change of “seasons” taking place within the ministry, but life continues on. There’s not a stopping of ministry just because there has been a change.
However, there are some ministries on college campuses like Intervarsity, Cru (Campus Crusade) or Navigators that take much of the summer off to regroup, rest and recharge for the upcoming school year. For these para-church organizations, ministry comes almost to a complete halt in the summer because their sphere of influence has been drastically reduced due to summer break. Most college campuses are ghost towns during the summer months. However, within the local church, ministry continues on. The roll may change, but the ministry to these young adults does not.
The seasons of change within the local church ministry of college/young adults keeps you on your toes. As the saying goes, there’s no grass growing underneath a college/young adults ministry group. There is needed time for rest, relaxation, and recharge, but there is an advantage to be taken when these times of change occur. There is an opportunity to catch up and continue intentional, relational ministry with this great group of young people. The college/young adult leader recognizes that “Life is Ministry. Ministry is Relational. Relationships are an Investment.”