adventures in missional campus ministry, chapter 3: language is important

so, we are one month into our new adventure as a campus ministry. things are starting to settle after the craziness of the start of the year. we are beginning to know our new students and get a feeling for who is on board with our mission.

and this is a relief to me.

this time last month, i was wondering if our vision was communicating well. were people understanding the direction we were headed? would people hear our hearts?

i knew that the communication of our vision would be huge, especially in the first week. and so i gathered our student leadership team together and we talked about language. i wanted us to be unified in the words we used when we communicated our vision. that way, if a new student asked me what we were about, they would hear the exact same answer they had heard when they asked seth, garrett, amy or emily (all student leaders). this would communicate unity as we move forward.

here are two key anwers we settled on:

“it’s not about what we do…it’s about who we are”: one of the main questions we receive from new students is, “what do you do?” and while this is a valid question, we wanted to express the reality that following Jesus is more about who we are than what we do. what we do flows out of who we are.

“we are missionaries”: so, who are we? well, we are missionaries. but not the kind that creep you out. (we said that…a lot!) missionaries are sent by God to a specific place for the purpose of building relationships, serving, blessing, and loving in hopes of living and sharing the gospel. that’s who we are: missionaries on the campus to be and do those exact things.

i was a bit fearful that this language would sound too churchy. however, i quickly realized that the largest number of students we were connecting with in the first weeks were kids who came from church backgrounds who understood who missionaries are and what they do. so this language was understood.

now, as we go forward, we are starting to see new faces that don’t have this context. in the next week or so, we will land on some new language that communicates our purpose in a unified and understandable way.


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