Cracks

Right about now collegiate leaders all around the country are having a severe dose of reality.   Pure pandemonium is about to commence because we’ve realized that in just over four short weeks we’ve got students arriving back on campus and our Fall Semesters will be in full swing.

Dang that was a short summer!

All of our well thought out plans and strategies are about to be tested with a vengeance.  We’re hoping our student leadership teams are prepared and have brought their A-Games.  And we ourselves are screaming like banshees, praying like mad that we haven’t forgotten anything because before we realize it we’re going to have incoming freshman crawling out of the woodwork all over our campus.

We grab our check lists and to-do lists:  Postcards mailed out?  Check!  Welcome Week events planned?  Check!  Small Group Leaders prepped and ready?  Check!  Consumed mass amounts of espresso?  Check and double-check!

But what have we forgotten?  Have we let anything slip through the cracks?

I remember hearing the stories my Daddy would often tell about when he was a little boy growing up in the cotton fields in the Mississippi Delta.  And I heard so many stories of how the house he lived in had cracks in every room in the floor.  He told me that some of the cracks in his bedroom floor were so big you could see the chickens… or any other critters that would get underneath the house.  He told of the summer’s heat and the winter’s chill that were seemingly uncontrollable simply because it was impossible to fill all of the cracks.  And how he and his little brother had to be careful because they had ‘lost’ several things over the years that slipped through the cracks.

Do you think that sometimes we as collegiate leaders get too focused and spend too much time and energy on the ‘big things’?  I know I have to really keep that in check.  It’s so easy for me to dive off into the planning and details of events, worship gatherings and social media mania that I fail to focus on what makes our ministry a success.  And that in a word, is relationships!

How much time each week are we spending making and developing relationships with our campus community?  Especially now, our incoming freshmen class is looking to make new friends and find those groups to fit in with.  The first few weeks of the fall semester is the prime time to make those critical connections.

As each year goes by, here is what I find to be truth:  The deeper the relationship with a student, the deeper the opportunity I get to pour myself and the Gospel into a student’s life.  And the greater the chance that he or she will actually hear and apply the Word we teach, therefore having the greatest impact in that student’s life.

The real talk is this:  At the end of the day when the smoke has cleared, we can have the greatest campus events, have the hottest praise band ever and we can be the best collegiate communicator in the land.  But if we’re serious about ‘filling the cracks’, we must remember this: our students don’t care how much we know, until they know how much we care.

No one deserves falling through the cracks.

Have an amazing fall semester everyone!

 

[ BACK-TO-SCHOOL HOMEPAGE ]

 

About the author: Jim Whaley
Jim is the Spiritual Life Coordinator and Campus Pastor at Tiffin University in Tiffin, Ohio. Connect with Jim on Twitter at @jimwhaley or email jimwhaleyjr@gmail.com. Check out their website at www.LifeAtH2o.org.
  • http://twitter.com/PaulWorcester Paul Worcester

    I can tell your heart beat fast for students on campus. Mine does also. Or maybe that is is the caffeine… :) Great post on the importance of relationships.

    • http://twitter.com/jimwhaley Jim Whaley

      Hey Paul! Thanks for you kind words! You nailed me head on, with my passion for students! This post is extremely dear to me, as I was once one of those that ‘slipped through the cracks’. Have a great Fall!

  • MJ

    “The deeper the relationship with a student, the deeper the opportunity I
    get to pour myself and the Gospel into a student’s life. And the
    greater the chance that he or she will actually hear and apply the Word
    we teach, therefore having the greatest impact in that student’s life.” – Thank you, Jim, for this reminder. This actually sounds like how Jesus did ministry. And how interesting… forming those few DEEP relationships worked out pretty well in the end in spreading His truth throughout the earth!

    • http://twitter.com/jimwhaley Jim Whaley

      Hey MJ! Thanks for your sincerety! May we all be focused on those deep relationships on our campuses. Have a great Fall!