Last year a week after the term began I was anxious because not many new students had attended welcome week activities. A few here and there, but not the level that brought the possibility of building the groups with new participants. I was deflated and kept wondering how to draw in people.
My strategic planning hat was on and I have to admit my focus was not so much on Christ or the students, as it was on having large enough groups so that it looked like my work was succeeding. “I” was definitely too much of the focus.
Now, a year later, I am anxious again. This time not because of too few students, but because of the many new students that I met last week – and their excitement in ministry. Part of me wants to celebrate and can’t wait to share these attendance numbers with others. But then I stop. Too much of me once again.
Prayers for missional students – students who may be interested in seeing God’s mission come to life on campus – and for students looking for community have been going up all summer. Now it looks like God has provided. Now what do I do? In some ways getting students to an initial event is the easy part – as long as the information gets out. Building relationships and involving them in the community is more difficult.
I’m going to have to step back from seeking to control and find ways to invite students in so that together we are in God’s ministry together. Over the next weeks I think I’ll be spending time in one-on-one conversations, meeting students at coffee shops, and praying. No longer can I just stand and observe how an event is going, how people are connecting, and how to do better next time. I’ve got to go deeper. It’s time to see where God is going with this.