ALPHARETTA, GA (BP) - There is plenty of information available to collegiate ministry leaders about how to start a college ministry, how to reach freshmen and how to encourage college students to share the gospel. But it can be difficult - if not impossible - to find these types of resources in one specific place to provide consistent, practical help to collegiate ministry leaders - until now.
The Collegiate Collective website launched last year with the goal of becoming a one-stop shop for best practices in collegiate ministry.
"Our whole goal with Collegiate Collective is to elevate and advance the gospel on campus," said Rahul Agarwal, director of Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) in the Tampa, FL area. "We've found that there hasn't been one place to go to for best practices for high impact people. So our goal is to create a resource that helps a lot of people go to one place to learn how to do college ministry and reach their campuses with the gospel."
Paul Worcester, director of Christian Challenge at Chico State University, works with Agarwal and a team of collegiate ministry leaders to contribute to and collect content for Collegiate Collective. Others in the group include Brian Frye, national collegiate strategist for the North American Mission Board, and Chase Abner, collegiate evangelism strategist for the Illinois Baptist State Association.
"This really is a team effort," Abner said. "No one person is in charge of Collegiate Collective. It's a team of people who are contributing out of their own passions and strengths. We are laboring to represent a variety of collegiate-reaching ministries from BCMs to church-based ministries, to church plants."
Since the website's launch, the Collegiate Collective team has released two written articles and a podcast each week, as well as a video every other week. The team also has posted free Bible studies for collegiate ministry leaders to use, as well as a free e-book written by Worcester titled, "Tips for Starting a College Ministry."
Website content also includes practical tools for leaders and students to use, such as "Gospel Appointments," a relational model for sharing the gospel.
"Once we trained our students at Chico State on how to use Gospel Appointments, we saw 58 students come to know Christ in the first four weeks," Worcester said. "It's just been fun to see something simple and reproducible that students can take and use to lead their friends to Christ."
These reproducible resources like Gospel Appointments, along with many others, have been distributed to more than 7,000 Collegiate Collective users in just three months. In addition, the page has had more than 50,000 views tracing from Florida to Illinois to California.
"There's no one owning the market for collegiate ministry quite like we are," Abner said. "Time and time again I've thought to myself, 'I wish this would have existed when I started out in campus ministry nine years ago!'"
Just like a team effort is required to collect and produce the content for Collegiate Collective, an even larger group has come together to fund the website, extending the ministry's resources throughout North America.
"Collegiate Collective has benefited financially from investments by NAMB's collegiate team," Abner said. "Additionally, LifeWay Christian Resources and several state conventions have supported Collegiate Collective by allowing staff members time to devote to the work. The same goes for the local churches and campus ministries represented on our own team."
The Collegiate Collective team continues to encourage people from across the country to get involved with their efforts to grow and improve collegiate ministry.
To recommend content, visit www.collegiatecollective.com to submit information, or e-mail the Collegiate Collective team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Join the conversation on collegiate ministry by commenting on the website's content or follow Collegiate Collective on twitter at @CollegiateColl.
"The Collegiate Collective team includes those who are on the 'About' page on our website, but it is much broader than that," Abner said. "It includes the individuals who have written articles, were guests on the podcast or appeared in the videos. It includes leaders who have commented on our posts or shared them on social media. All of that plays a part in how we are elevating and advancing the gospel on campuses around North America."