here are some recurring themes. I've chosen 5 of the most common to focus on as we start the year. Here is the fifth need.
Integrating into the Life of the Church.
It''s great to get students involved in the college ministry of the church, but then what? If they only know the college ministry, they are missing out on other relationships that can enrich their lives. Connecting them into other areas of the church also helps them understand the mission and purpose of the church and find places to use their gifts as a part of the church body.
Sterling Sellman, College Minister at FBC Wichita Falls shares, "Our church has a monthly event called Lunch with the Pastor for new members and prospects. This weekend we are having a college only edition. Our Senior Pastor will share his story and the vision of our church. I think it will be a great way to move students out of the spectator box into action."
There are a variety of ways to get students plugged into the church body, including programs intentionally connecting students with families or mentors. University Heights Baptist Church in Huntsville uses Family groups. "Family groups are where our college small group leaders get to go and have dinner with families from our church who desire to invest in college students," says college minister Chris Millar. "Through family groups, we hope to provide a home away from home for college students as they get to not only spend time with families but be in their homes eating a home cooked meal."
Mission and service opportunities can also be a great way to connect students to others in the church. University Heights also connects students through service opportunities like their Bridge outreach that regularly travels into downtown Houston to feed and clothe the homeless. Chris shares, "Bridge allows folks of all ages and stages to serve together for a Friday night. We meet up at the church and then carpool down to Houston and this time often includes students getting to meet different families or individuals from our church." What missIon projects might your church already be doing that would be a great fit for students? Plan a trip or project and invite key adults to join college students to serve together.
Help students discover their own gifts and use them to serve in the church. The idea that they can serve may be new to them. Connect music majors with the church orchestra or choir. Help early childhood education majors find places of service in the children's ministry. Work with the youth ministry to find opportunities for students to lead activities for younger youth. Help students discover their own spiritual gifts through providing them short term service opportunities to find what energizes them. Plugging them into ministry now will help them cultivate a love for the church that can last a lifetime.
What's your strategy? How do you get students involved in the church? Share it with us here on our facebook page.