Improved structure unites student ministry leaders

John Brown University’s Student Ministries Leadership Team plans to completely revamp its organizational structure.

Team member Abigail Fennema said it was “the most exciting thing in the world.”

The organization serves as an umbrella program for the University’s ministries. In the past, the program functioned by commissioning specific leaders to direct individual ministries. One person ran the men’s ministry, one person managed Breakaway’s events and one person organized the University’s mission trips.

Team members said the system frustrated them.

“Everybody was doing their own thing,” Fennema said. “It could be very isolating.”

Organizations such as Women’s Passion and Women’s Ministry occasionally overlapped, and leaders hesitated to take responsibility for events other organizations might exercise authority over.

“No one wanted to step on anyone’s toes,” Fennema said.

In response to the problem, the team decided to consolidate the different ministry leaders into two separate units next semester. A group of six students will run campus ministries such as Breakaway, the Gathering and Passion. This unit will pour effort into developing small groups and mentoring programs.

Composed of four students, the Outreach unit will continue advancing off-campus ministries such as CAUSE programs and University-endorsed mission trips.

Students will strategize together in their respective units to organize and lead the different ministries.

“Instead of one or two people working on small groups, now there’s a team of six that will all lend their different gifts and strengths for the development of those,” Frank Huebert, director of discipleship, said.

“It’s a lot more working together, sharing responsibilities and sharing ideas,” Mikayla Roberts, director of Child Evangelism Fellowship, said. “They’re trying to make it really team oriented instead of individually oriented.”

Ministry members said the new organization gives students greater opportunities to use their gifts.

“When you work in a group, I can get someone else to do those things that I wasn’t equipped to do,” Fennema said. “I think when the body of Christ comes together and works together, we’re able to play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses better.”

Rather than spending several hours meeting with the entire leadership team, team members will regularly meet in their small groups in order to spend more time strategizing on their specific plans.

“One of the things we hope it does is cut out the formality of the structure in some ways,” Huebert said. “We’ll have more time to work on what we’re really about.”

Team members said they view the new structure as an experiment.

“I don’t know 100 percent what it’s going to look like yet, but I’m excited,” Roberts said.