Merry Homecoming

posted Dec 10, 2014, 3:32 PM by Ginger Bowman
Tis the season! College students are finishing up their final exams and heading back home for the holidays.  Some of them are coming home from their first semester of college.  Before you pack up your college ministry hat and head to Grandma's, take advantage of these next couple of weeks to reconnect with those students you haven't seen or spent time with since they left for school.  Many of them have not found a church home or connected with a campus ministry yet.  Encouragement from someone who knows them well can help them reconnect when they return to campus in January. 

Since they have been away for most of the semester, some students will be apprehensive about coming back into the college group at their home church.  Here are a few ideas to help you reconnect.  
  • Host a "Family Reunion" Christmas party to reacquaint old friends and introduce new members.  Plan it around an activity to create a shared experience and increase interaction, (a mission project, cookie decorating, caroling).  Invite your youth minister and adult leaders that the freshmen students knew well when they were in the youth group.  
  • Plan a Christmas break mission trip or retreat. It's amazing what a few days on a road trip can do to bring a group together.  Travel and shared experiences of those days together build lasting memories and friendships. 
  • Invite students to coffee or lunch.  What college students do you know that would turn down a free cup of coffee or a free lunch?  Some students will be reluctant to come back into the group.  Be intentional about individual invitations to meet for coffee and hear about their semester.  Invite another student they know to join you.  Ask good questions and encourage them.   Let them know that you truly care about them, not just whether they will attend church.  
Remember that the work you do now to include "away" students during the break can help build relationships and connections that will help them re-engage when they are home over the summer months.  And just like everyone else, students will start the next semester with new resolutions and goals.  Your encouragement may be just the boost they need to reconnect with their faith in the coming year.  

* Help students find the local BSM near their campus at www.texasfreshmen.com.


  
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