It's been so encouraging to see people get involved in the Starting a College Ministry ebook project. I'm working on Chapter 2--Designing a Ministry Structure.
It can be so easy to merely rearrange the pieces of other people's ministries to form your own structure (I like the way ministry x does co-ed bible studies, but the way ministry y does their weekly meeting, etc), which we all do in some capacity.
However the long-term health of your ministry will be directly related to the design and refinement of your structure.
A major challenge when initially designing the structure is that it feels so disconnected from your current reality, which is usually low numbers and students that lack leadership ability. It can be extremely tempting to design a structure that seeks to RETAIN students rather than DEVELOP them.
This could look like:
- Filling your schedule with a variety of social events that lack any connection to your mission, vision and values. If there are no training times or minimal events where leadership-minded students can display their abilities they will eventually find somewhere else to go where they have an opportunity to develop.
- Requiring only attendance as a qualification for a leadership role. Again if you only have ten students coming it's easy to place someone in leadership that is not quite there yet. My experience is that less than 10% of the students I have placed in leadership roles hoping they would "get it" have actually stayed on and developed.
- Limiting the amount of legitimate places where students can take ownership. If there are less than three places for a student to take ownership then your structure probably needs an adjustment. I've also seen the value in creating micro-leadership roles (event coordinators, outreach team leaders, etc) where I can take a risk to discover a student's leadership ability. Often times staff members cannot select leaders well because they simply have not allowed any students to lead.
Have you been part of designing a ministry structure? What have you learned or experienced that makes for a good one?
photo courtesy of dunechaser