College Ministry for Life

posted May 25, 2017, 12:15 PM by Ginger Bowman

Over the last few weeks, I’ve found myself engaging in many conversations on the current state of American evangelicalism. Questions like these arise: What is the future of the church as we know it? What will the Baptist denomination look like for our children? What does evangelism look like in a post-modern context? Why do people stop going to church – and what does it look like for them to come back?

I trust that these are questions we all are struggling with in one sense or another. And it has brought me to this foundational question in my own ministry: So what now? How do I create a dynamic college ministry that equips and prepares students to successfully navigate life in the church – especially after they graduate?

My team and I have focused on a few things that help move us forward in the pursuit of this goal. Here a few thoughts:

  •  Keep the focus on being Jesus’ disciple. New Testament Professor Scot McKnight suggests that we can reduce Jesus to a transaction on the cross if we’re not careful – let’s make sure not to do that. If we can focus on introducing (and re-introducing) students to the whole story of Jesus, I think they can survive whatever church landscape they face down the road – because they will know and love Jesus. Fight away any temptation to define success by numbers or personal praise – it’s all about discipleship.
  • ‘Pull back the curtain’ a little. At the end of the Wizard of Oz, the curtain is pulled back to show Dorothy how Oz really works – contrary to the way it was always presented. I think this is a call of collegeministers – help students see church, the Bible, and the Christian life as they really are. This summer we are studying “Bible Stories You Learned When You Were Eight But Need to Look At Again.” Why? Because their faith has to grow in the same way their intellect is growing at the university across the street. We have to help them have an adult faith – to re-examine and take ownership in deeper ways than they have before.
  • Be ready to change and grow as a minister. This year more than ever, I have been convicted and humbled. We are in a new age. We cannot “rinse and repeat” the same programs that worked when we were in college – or even that we were taught in seminary. Embrace new ideas – even from students. Listen to the Spirit. Don’t be afraid to risk in pursuit of forward motion.

Overall, I want us to be encouraged! God is still at work, and the church has a vibrant future ahead. Let’s be a part of helping guide it onward.

Books that are influencing my ministry right now:

  • King Jesus Gospel, Scot McKnight.
  • Building a Discipling Culture, Mike Breen.
  • Fresh Expressions of Church, Travis Collins.

Katy Reed is Director of College Ministry at First Baptist Church Arlington


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