Jim Griffith and I are partnering together to design a curriculum for the upcoming Campus Ministry Boot Camp in December. In preparation, I’d like to get your insight on what you think every new campus pastor needs to know. Over the next 16 days, I’m going to ask a question a day to learn from you what you wish you had known before stepping on campus.
So here goes . . .
QUESTION #1: WHAT ARE THE THREE TO FIVE BIGGEST MISTAKES YOU HAVE MADE ON CAMPUS?
Here’s my list
#2 – Not working with the willing.
I spent my first two years at SMU pursuing students and Board members who were never going to accept me as their campus pastor. I only began to recover when I defined who I was, the vision for the ministry God had called me to, and then worked with volunteer leaders – students and Board – who like me and that vision.
#3 – Not realizing that fundraising was my responsibility.
Can I get an “Amen!”? Just like any other non-profit, the director has to be the chief-fundraiser and head-cheerleader for the ministry to do any programming. I realized that I can’t do it alone, but I had to make the system work for me because I was going to be running it.
#4 – Not leading/challenging your Board from day one.
It took me longer than I want to admit (especially since Steve Moore told me more than once), but I finally realized that developing the Board leadership IQ is crucial to the short-term and long-term effectiveness of a campus ministry. Boards are made up of people – take them to coffee, get to know them, and be their campus pastor. They need us to lead out – sooner than later.
#5 – Not dealing with conflict in a timely manner among volunteers.
I learned the hard way that I had to model, teach, and hold people accountable to healthy ways of dealing with interpersonal conflict because church-folk stink at it. Why else did Jesus give us Matthew 18? We will never make campus ministry 100% drama-free, but we can deal with issues as they develop so that they don’t spread to the whole group. Finally, conflict should be viewed as an opportunity for spiritual growth in the lives of those involved.
What are yours?