Friday, May 28, 2010

To Connect or Disconnect...

Campus has grown quiet here.  The students have left for the summer (well, most of them anyway) and it's time for a change of pace... right?!

Obviously the ministry landscape of the summer months will look different in comparison to those of the academic year; with space for assessing, planning, preparing... and of course, some much needed vacation!  But I wonder how many of us are simply turning of the 'ministry spigot' because it feels like the natural thing to do... I know, for the most part, that's typically what I do.  "See you in the fall!" I say as they we connect before they leave campus.

But is this the right approach?

Most of us are probably familiar with the ongoing debate about year-round education - especially for those in the K-12 systems.  Proponents of the year-round educational experience often site how much students typically 'lose' during their time off.  Teachers end up spending a lot of time at the beginning of each new school year 're-educating' students on things they 'learned' the year before.

Now, I know that college is different - and students are developmentally in a different place, but I wonder if there is something here for us to learn from as it relates to ministry with college students...

I know that the work we do with students has much more to it than just 'learning', but is there a way that we 'do ministry' that is either helpful, or harmful, to students as they journey 'off campus' for the summer months?  As they go from having regular, intentional contact with our ministries to little or no contact for a few months...

What do you think?

  • How connected are you with students over the summer months?  Do you think it matters?
  • Have you noticed any 'losses' in students that may have been avoided with some more intentional connecting over the summer months?
  • Have you found any ways to have meaningful ministry with students over the summer, while also getting the necessary space to rest, assess and prep before the new school year begins?
  • Are there important reasons to disconnect over the summer - for both staff and students?

I'd love to know what you think.  Share your thoughts, wisdom, experience, etc., in the comments section below!

Grace and peace.