Why Ministry Recruitment Day?
Once a year, pastors and youth leaders from all over Wisconsin gather in the gymnasium to present their ministries to the students. They bring displays and decorate tables with pamphlets, information, and pictures (and maybe some candy or cookies!) designed to draw not only the students’ attention but also their interest in learning more about how they can contribute to the various ministry opportunities available to them.
Ministry Recruitment Day is important; no one would argue against such a statement. But why is it important? Several pastors and upperclassmen were asked this question throughout the event itself, and, as can be expected, many of them echoed each other’s sentiments. Each response was well-articulated and thought-provoking, and from these were drawn five overarching reasons as to why Ministry Recruitment Day is so important.
Ministry Recruitment Day Allows Students to Recognize the Vast Number of Ministry Opportunities Available to Them
MBU is truly blessed in its location, being in such close proximity to a few Bible-believing churches. However, students often find it difficult to see beyond these to the other churches in the area. One pastor commented on how ministry opportunities at the local churches fill up so quickly that many students think there’s nothing left for them to do. However, that’s just not the case.
At an event such as this, students are provided with the opportunity to learn about churches that they’d never hear of otherwise; many upperclassmen testified that they found their extension churches as freshmen through Ministry Recruitment Day. Pastors from as near as Watertown, Wisconsin, to as far away as Joliet, Illinois, traveled to MBU to recruit students, and churches like these have many opportunities for students to get involved in ministry. Every student has a place to serve, should they choose to pursue it.
MBU is Built Around Local Church Ministry
One pastor, upon being asked why Ministry Recruitment Day is important, observed that the entire ministry of MBU is geared toward preparing students to serve in local church ministry. MBU recognizes the biblical authority of the church and does not try to fill that role in the students’ lives; rather, the university requires students to attend church off-campus each week and encourages them to become involved in the ministries available there.
Another pastor commented that this feature is unique to MBU and that many other Christian colleges either do not require students to attend church or choose to institute an on-campus church for the students to attend. While this practice is not necessarily wrong, it pulls prospective attendees from local churches and robs the students of the opportunity to minister in diverse settings, which leads directly to the next reason.
Students Need to Practice Serving
More than one pastor indicated the need for students to practice what they are being taught. As previously indicated, the core purpose of MBU is to prepare young people to impact the world for Christ. The way that this is done is through the local church, and students need to get involved sooner rather than later in order to have an influence that will be effective in the long run.
Teachers can inform students how church ministry works, how to run a children’s ministry, or how to participate in church functions. However, all of this information is useless if the student does not learn in a hands-on way how to apply what they’ve learned and how to acclimate themselves to functioning as part of the body of Christ, rather than simply attending church to meet a requirement. Students need the local church, and the local church needs the students.
Churches Need Help
Not only do students need experience working in church ministry, as full-time ministers and lay workers, but the churches can also use them greatly. Many of the churches represented in the gymnasium are small churches; their regular attendees number around fifty or less. These churches need help in their ministries, and they need help that they can rely on.
Small churches in the past have found their MBU student members indispensable. Students who reach out have the opportunity not only to get plugged into a church but also to play a huge part in helping the church thrive and reach the community around it.
Incorporating ministry-minded young people willing to serve in any capacity in their churches is a huge asset to pastors, but the pastors can be an asset to the students as well.
Pastors Gain the Opportunity to Invest in Young People
The students can influence the church, but the church also can influence the students. One pastor gestured to the students scattered across the gymnasium and said, “This is the next generation. I have the chance to impact the next generation.”
When students become involved in a church, the pastor has the chance to connect with them personally, mentor them, and provide spiritual guidance from the perspective of one who is currently living out what the students are learning about in class. Coupled with hands-on ministry experience, the local church is an invaluable tool to the Christian student.
Students and pastors alike have found Ministry Recruitment Day vital in matching ministry workers to the churches that they are uniquely equipped to serve in. Each member of the relationship plays a part, and each member needs the others. As students minister and pastors mentor, God blesses their faithfulness to His cause and to each other, and He is the Designer and Purpose of it all.