Posted by: Brandon | February 5, 2010

Question of the (Fri)Day

It seems every year I have a handful (or more!) of the students involved in our ministry who also attend and get involved in other campus ministries.

My simple question: why is that?

Why do you think students get involved in more than one ministry on your campus?

I’m asking my students the same question. You could ask your students why they do so. It would be neat to get a nice little conversation going in the comments section. Post your thoughts and the thoughts of your students.

Have at it!



  1. I think it’s because they have a ‘shopping/consumer’ mindset rather than a serving mindset–they go to two or three ministries b/c they get differnent things out of them, rather than picking one ministry to serve.

  2. Jake’s got a point, that’s for sure.
    But there may be some other reasons, and I think healthy ones.
    For example, at the Purdue Christian Campus House hundreds of kids show up for the weekend gathering. Many of whom aren’t evolved with PCCH during the rest of the week. These students are from the Navigators, Cru, or IV and don’t have a local body of believers they can worship with in this type of capacity. So I think it’s okay, but I could be wrong.

  3. Ian…

    You mention Purdue CCH. They have a Sunday morning service. Other campus ministries do as well…and I could understand students going to PCCH for the Sunday AM services and then being plugged into another campus ministry during the week.

    But, what about those of us who don’t offer a Sunday AM service? We meet on Tuesday nights. We have students come here Tuesday…and then go to FCA on Wednesday…and then Cru on Thursday.

    And so, it’s something different for us than just being at a Sunday morning service.

  4. I’ve received a couple of responses from alumni of ours. They’re reasoning for attending multiple places when they were in college were simply social.

    “CCH was my homebase, but I had friends who went to Cru or BSU. So, I would go there with them.”

  5. I’ve heard a few more responses; one from a student and one from an alum.

    The student stated that she goes to one campus ministry because that’s where she feels fed…I am assuming that means the Bible study/teaching connects with her. She said she goes to a different ministry because that’s where she has “found fellowship.”

    An alum stated that she went to two for the purposes of helping someone else grow in Christ. She was connected to one ministry, but also attended another because she had a friend who would go to the other, but only if she went along…and she wanted that friend to keep growing. So, she went to both.

  6. I think its FIRST a social desire. I have a handful of students who participate regularly with us (small group, events, missions.) But are also connected to other groups – mainly because they are following their social networks/connections around.

    SECOND – I think a felt-need and/or consumer mentality is the other reason. “I get fed here” or “This is where I find fellowship” or “I like their missions option better”.

    We live in an age of options. I think we are only going to see more of this.

  7. I know I’m late to the party on this one, but I do really appreciate the question (and answers!).

    I think Lee’s right – we may see a lot more of this.

    But my best response might simply be, “Why wouldn’t they?”

    It’s easy to assign problematic motives to students, but in a large number of cases, have we given them much reason to believe that “participation” means much? It’s easy from OUR standpoint to see each ministry as a very different organization. But if I place myself in the shoes of the average Christian student… I might view ministries like I view Christian books or any other spiritual aids. And in that case, it could be very wise to pick-and-choose.

    I think it’s our job to reframe the situation – or, more accurately, to frame it in the first place. These students have generally not heard about participating in A college ministry from their youth pastors or parents, let alone plugging in well.

    Yes, once we frame it, students will still struggle with commitment, consumerism, and complacency. But first, I’m not sure many have felt _community_ enough to limit their involvement. We’d like to assume it’s truly spiritually valuable for students to invest deeply rather than roam widely… but from a discipleship standpoint, I don’t know that we should assume that’s automatically true. Perhaps that’s a good point for evaluation: Will students actually benefit by participating deeply in our group MORE than they would by choosing 3 “best activities” each week among all the groups?

    You can probably tell I’m thinking-as-I-go on this one. Great question. Thanks for asking it.

  8. […] the wandering?: Brandon Smith asks a question that’s always on all of our minds: Why do students flit between college ministries? And he […]

  9. […] the Art of Brainstorming series at Heart of Campus Ministry!why the wandering?: Brandon Smith asks a question that’s always on all of our minds: Why do students flit between college ministries? And he gets […]

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