Perhaps you've noticed them at your local restaurant. Maybe they parked your car at the mall this Christmas. The truth is that many of these students are so busy going to school and taking classes they have little time for much else. Squeezing in extra curricular and social activities can be a challenge. But these are the college students in our community. We may be missing out on some great opportunities to connect with them.
Engage in conversation. How often do you eat out? Stay in hotels? Use a parking garage? Why not engage your server in conversation at your next restaurant meal? Find out if and where he/she goes to school. Maybe there's a student in your ministry already that they know. Those who work in the service industry see people all day long, but rarely have a significan conversation with anyone.
Start a Bible study. Do you have a student who is working in a restaurant already? Explore the possibility of starting a Bible study for workers on site. Before they start their shift or right after. The restaurant culture can be a challenging environment for students. Knowing that someone is available to them and praying for them could make a real difference in their day to day lives.
Be a big spender. In these tough economic times we're all pinching pennies. Super couponing, price matching and daily deals are a part of our daily lives. It's okay to be cheap about some things, but maybe there's one place we need to reconsider our thrift. What would a generous tip say to a student who's struggling to pay tuition this semester? We all know the saying "money talks," and in our culture it's true. Bargain shop online, but when you have the opportunity to be a blessing and meet a new college student, maybe valet parking isn't such an extravagance after all.
*Statistics from US Dept. of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 19, 2012.