What Does a Successful College Ministry Look Like?

Many college ministers are about to enter into a brand new season. For those of us who are starting new things on local college campuses there will definitely be a ton of pressure to provide “results” to the people back home at our churches.

“Recruit new students, get people to make decisions for Christ, put on big events that students love! Do more, get more, be more!”

All these things are fine and dandy. But at the end of the day – tons of new students, new converts, and spectacular rush week events aren’t the things that God is going to judge our ministries on. God is going to look at our lives to see whether or not we have been faithful to the callings and tasks he has given us. In other words success in ministry boils down to faithfulness to what God has called us to…

"Zero Week" at UCLA is a huge week for campus ministries. The same is true for colleges around the country.
“Zero Week” at UCLA is a huge week for campus ministries. The same is true for colleges around the country.

In Father, Son, Spirit, and Kingdom Robbie Castleman compares and contrasts the lives and ministries of two Old Testament Prophets – Jonah and Isaiah. Notice how she describes what it means to be faithful in ministry:

Jonah walked across Nineveh in a three-day ministry with a bad attitude and no love for the lost, and the city had a short lived revival that made the evening news. Today, Jonah’s results would merit him a TV show and a lifestyle that smelled like success. On the other hand, Isaiah hand a lifelong ministry that people ignored, tuned out, shut off and didn’t get. Isaiah ended up with a congregation of only about 10 percent of what he started with (Isaiah 6:9-13). Today Isaiah’s ministry would be subject to every suggestion and gimmick for a quick fix that would put him on the road to the kind of success that can be quantified and measured and then advertised. But with whom was God pleased? (FSSK, 105)

As you go out and work those college campuses, I would encourage you to remind yourself that God isn’t looking for you to generate fruit – that is his job – but he is looking for your faithfulness.


Published by cwoznicki

Chris Woznicki is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He works as the regional training associate for the Los Angeles region of Young Life.

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