How To Grow A Campus Ministry

This is an article I recently wrote for the Youth Specialties blog about growing and starting campus ministries. I know this might not be possible during the pandemic but I still wanted to post this for the leader that might have an opportunity to do campus ministry this school year. Thanks for reading 🙂

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Campus ministry is such an amazing opportunity to invest in students and see what God can do through them. A campus ministry can be defined as an FCA program, Young Life program, bible club or prayer group. Whatever the campus ministry looks like it’s an amazing opportunity to invest in students! Here are four ways to grow or transform your campus ministry that I’ve been practicing over the last year that’s proven effective.

Student ownership 

I started volunteer leading a bible club at the local middle school and when I took it over I did all of the speaking. I was the sole leader like this for quite some time and students would come to hear a talk and then discuss in groups. That was our structure for a while and it was going well with no problems at all. Although there is nothing wrong with that structure I knew that it was time to change the direction of the club.

It wasn’t until last spring when the decision to completely change the structure and leadership of the bible club happened. To initiate the change a small number of students gathered with the same interest and heart which was to be the leaders of the club.

These students were told that ownership of the club was being transferred to them and that they were going to be the core team in charge of the entire group. I was stepping back as the main leader and stepping into more of a support role for the leadership team. The students took this, made a sheet of speakers which were students who wanted to share and they also took ownership of advertising the club. They were able to do this in a whole new way because they had access to the school that I just didn’t have as an outsider.

Staff buy in 

Above I wrote that the students now lead the club and I have a support role. Along with me there are also two staff members who are teachers at the school that also support the leadership group. Every week us three attend the club as a support team not to control what happens. The students feel empowered knowing they’ve got me and two of the teachers supporting them in their journey of leadership. The teachers have been instrumental in helping the students advertise the group by getting the students access to the school morning announcements.

Swag

Although the club is student lead, we know that students don’t have access to a budget. As a supporter of the bible club I was able to get permission to use some of my budget from the youth ministry at the church where I work to support the club. 

Two ways we’ve done swag at the club, first was different colored WWJD bracelets. The students wear them to club and they are super easy to pass out to their friends as well. Second, I had some of my students who lead the club help me design a t shirt. The design was such a hit with the students because it was essentially the popular supreme T shirts replaced with our group name instead of the word supreme. Every week at least one student wears the shirt and they use it to invite their friends as well. Google black supreme shirt if you have no idea what I’m talking about… tons of students love that design!

Pray with the students

Although the students lead upfront they still need to be guided by an adult for development and in prayer for the group. In my support role I help them pray for the club on a regular basis. Together we pray for the growth of the club, for God to work in the school and for hearts to be changed within the student body. Consistent prayer has helped the students see that praying for something persistently just like Luke 11 tells us to make a way for God to move.

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