So you’ve learned that success in college ministry looks different than in other areas of the church. You have a different view of ministry to this generation, but does your church? How do you help your church to understand college ministry and what it takes to reach this generation of students?
College ministry functions more like a mission ministry of the church than a program. Helping church leaders and members to see college ministry as a mission of the church will help them to catch a vision for ministry to this generation. College students in your community are a people group that share certain characteristics and have common needs.
Help your church to understand this people group that lives and studies right in their own community. What are some tangible ways to cast that vision?
1. Educate. Ask for opportunities in worship or in other church meeting times to share about college students and college ministry. Include pictures of local campuses and local students. Do a short interview with a student during worship that helps church members understand the lifestyle and needs of a student. Plan a college day of prayer for your church, and include a bulletin insert or prayer guide that has includes, pictures of local campuses, statistics, characteristics of the college generation and specific ways to pray for local students.
2. Experience. College students may not be in the “traffic patterns” of most of your members. Be intentional about taking church staff, lay leaders and other church members to campus. Plan a prayer walk, or prayer drive. Have students from your church be “guest speakers” in adult Sunday school classes to share about their life experiences.
3. Engage. Organize a group to go and help your local BSM with an event that will put them in contact with students. Plan with campus staff to do a service project for the campus. When you plan college ministry events and activities ask yourself, “What adults need to be a part of this event?” Use multiple volunteers to serve in your college ministry so that more of your church is engaged with students.
4. Evaluate. Even though we know that college ministry is unique, we don’t do a great job of sharing that in conversation or reports. Report what you know really matters in college ministry. If your best contact with students is in an on campus small group then share that information. How many students have you been in contact with this semester? What individual stories can you share of students growing in your ministry?
College ministry is definitely missional ministry. Changing the mindset of a church is a process. Be patient and lead as any missionary would when ministering to a people group.
**For statistics on Texas Colleges and Universities to share with your church go to http://www.txhighereddata.org/.