It’s getting on towards late November — and our students are dreaming of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, as well as the Christmas break that will follow not long after. While time away from campus — and the stress and worries of their studies — seems so close, we all know that they’re not out of […]
“Is your ministry geared more toward Christians or non-Christians?” If I drank a Red Bull every time I was asked this question, I’d be more sleepless than a first-semester freshman during orientation. The question exposes the prevailing assumption among many Christians that believers and non-believers are fundamentally different and have different needs. But 14 years […]
When’s the last time you asked God for a target? For His target? When’s the last time you asked God who He wanted you to spend your time and efforts pursuing? If you’re anything like me, you might tend to operate on autopilot when it comes to questions like this. As people serving the campus […]
The game of baseball has long been a popular metaphor used when talking about sex and/or sexual activity. First base. Second base. Third base. Scoring. You get the picture. I can’t recall when I was first introduced to this metaphor (and conversation), but I would imagine it was sometime around the latter part of my […]
It’s the time of year when campus goes quiet and graduating students begin to face the reality of life after college.
And for some students, this new reality will mean be a major challenge.
I recently ran across this humorous commercial that seems to have captured (for me) one of the challenges today’s students struggle with — dreaming big while still being responsible and realistic.
And truth be told, I’m not exactly sure how best to help our students with this…
A few years back we asked about 50 students to rank 1 through 17 in order of the value of our different ministries in their minds.
Our 50 students filling out the 1 to 17 list rated it (a one-on-one mentoring relationship) as the number one most helpful and needed thing we did!
I mentor because I’m convinced that being mentored was the single most impactful component for my spiritual growth in college.
Living in a world of helicopter parents who essentially make decisions for their children, collegians need mentors more than ever to grow spiritually and encounter life responsibly.
Helicopter parents tend to believe their child can do no wrong. This sentiment oftentimes positions adolescents for failure. In college, my mentor asked me the tough questions that no one wants to answer; these were questions that I intentionally avoided for the sake of spiritual sloth. However, without these questions, I would not have discovered the spiritual journey that I’m trekking today.
I met the Rev. Jack Fogleman when I was eighteen years old and a freshman in college.
In United Methodist organizational nomenclature, Jack was a district superintendent. That meant he had supervisory oversight for roughly sixty congregations in a particular section of the State (Kansas).
Another responsibility that district superintendents have is to keep track of young ministerial candidates. At the point of our first contact, I was not one of them, but Jack was paying attention.
We all know that conversations — of a wide variety — are what make up the life and work of those in ministry. Much more so than programs.
And we also know that conversations are the bread and butter of mentoring relationships.
While some things will be learned through shared experience, much of what we share with students comes in the form of conversation — over meals, coffee, and number of places across campus.
Conversations are key.
But do we really know what goes into a good conversation?
How about a great one.
Sometime around the age of 13 a friend entered my life. This individual intentionally chose me, though at the time I did not know it. His name was Bruce.
Bruce’s investment in my life seemed inconspicuous. He was, after all, the Youth Superintendent for the Friends churches in the Pacific Northwest. He was paid to do this!
Bruce and I began meeting regularly as I was just entering high school. It seemed to me he had the ability to discern one’s entire life story by simply looking them in the eye.
I’ve found myself wondering lately if mentoring — as an intentional form of raising up the next generation — is lost?
In our fast-paced, keep your nose out of my business, anxiety riddled culture — have we lost the know-how to be with people in intentional, honest, and life-giving ways? And just as importantly, has the value of this kind of relationship been lost on this generation of students?
Without faithful examples, and our focus drawn away from mentoring — towards other things — have we forgotten how to do this? Or what it looks like? Or what it can yield in another’s life?
Growing up in a larger church, you would think that I could go through youth group picking the best mentors out there and entering college as the next Billy Graham.
That’s what everyone would think at least.
In reality, it was not until my freshmen year of high school that my Sunday School teacher and I began a relationship that changed my life forever. Harry Barber (yes, that’s his real name), who was my interim youth minister and incredible mentor, worked together with me every week for a year and a half as he taught me how to lead my peers at church. We did life together and I learned by watching his example.