Kicking Off the School Year On Campus
A school administrator emails me,
“If you would like to come to all three days of Freshmen Orientation you can, but I signed you up to help supervise student leaders on Wednesday and on Thursday. You are going to be welcoming parents. Does that work?”
Does that work? If only he knew how excited I am to start another great year of on-campus ministry!
Sowing at the Beginning of the Year
Just as important as it is to have a time for rest (I talked about in my last article), that’s not to ignore there is a time to work. Freshmen Orientations is where it all begins. The opportunities are endless: schools need volunteer help from people in the community, you get to hang out with student leaders, you get to meet new students and their parents. Not to mention also getting time with the school’s staff and faculty – this is a no brainer!
But be patient. Remember this is only the beginning. Bearing fruit takes time.
I have to admit, Jesus’ agrarian parables really stretch me. I understand that they explain and exemplify Biblical truths, but selfishly I cannot imagine having the patience to farm. I mean, I barely have the patience to wait for an iTunes update. As I understand farming, one must have land and soil prepared, plant seeds and water properly, continuous care as the plants grow, and then the fruit is reaped – and by the way, this process takes months. That is a long time for a cucumber salad.
After my first time volunteering at a Freshmen Orientation years ago, I realized that this kind of patience is vital to on-campus ministry. It is about relationship building, serving the community, and investing. Involvement at the beginning of the school year is the act of tilling the soil, preparing the land, and planting seeds. All these acts are really important if you wish to eventually….
Reap Fruit Throughout the Year
“So I have volunteered my time at beginning of the year activities – now what?” Glad you asked!
Now pray that God will bless and multiply your efforts. Not all of our efforts will get the expected results, but serving the school is an important part of on campus ministry. I have gotten students to clean their school, paint curbs, work with the custodians (the real gems of the school), and more only to have administration one day decide to no longer allow visitors on campus. Frustrating to say the least. Keep running the race with perseverance.
If you did not like answer above, try this one: Now that you have shown the school that you are available and willing to work, you can enter into a rhythm of on campus presence. Follow up with staff and faculty contacts you made. Visit students during lunchtime and be that “weird person” for a while. Since you are starting at the beginning of the year, it will not take long until you are the person who is “always there.”
Right after my request to help with Freshmen Orientation, a Christian leadership student messaged me and told me that she is setting up a meeting to plan “Lunch w/ Jesus,” a Christian club. My encouragement to you is that years of investment and planting with on campus ministry reap continuous rewards. Let us joyously serve and do whatever it takes to come alongside of students in their daily lives!
is the Area Campus Director with Youth for Christ/Campus Life in the Sacramento area. In Paul's years working with both church and parachurch, he always has made visiting the local campus a priority. Paul is on campus weekly, and he thinks you should be too! Feel free to use the comment feature in these articles to dialogue with Paul, or use our CONTACT US page to contact him with a specific question.