Peer Ministry for Campus Ministry Partner Congregations [Part 7 of 11]
The ministry of individual Christians cannot be coerced, but must be encouraged. Campus pastors have expressed most frustration in this area. When struggles begin in a peer ministry program, they do so in the area of motivation and accountability. When expectations are not made clear and communicated they are not met. When goals of the program are not clear, expectations are also muddied, and failure is inevitable. When the student peers and the other staff are unclear about what might constitute a successful program, success is never achieved.
Creating accountability within a peer ministry program begins with the development of a purpose statement for the peer ministry program as a whole. A number of goals for programs are to be found across the Lutheran Campus Ministry system. Some sites have as a primary goal the creation of intentional Christian community, out of which ministry will happen. In other sites the primary function of the program is outreach to new students. Other goals include leadership training, worship or Bible study leadership, engaging students in peer counseling, and providing leadership for social activism. In other programs students are responsible for maintaining the hospitable nature of the ministries. No one student can be expected to take on all of these tasks. It is unlikely that any individual site will incorporate all of these tasks within a single peer ministry program.
Students' schedules are, if anything, quite full. The purpose and limits of the peer ministry program need to take this into account. The goals of a peer ministry program cannot exceed the ability of students to meet them. Realistic expectations of students' time and abilities can be obtained in conversation with college student services personnel.