There are a lot of unanswered questions in College Ministry today. Will churches and denominations continue to make cuts in College Ministry? Will State and private colleges and universities continue to make policies that limit Christian Ministries or force them to leave campus? As huge as these and other questions might be, I don't think they are the biggest.
In my mind, the single biggest question in College Ministry today is, "Will churches aimed primarily or solely at college students develop commitment to church after college days?".
Many years ago, a pastor told me he did not like our campus based ministry because his students didn't like his church after attending a campus ministry. His point was that students became "spoiled" to everything being aimed at them and for them. Of course, I responded with all we did to point students to the church, not just to our ministry. But, is there truth in what he said? We all like things tailored to us.
In our great concern for the growing loss of 20somethings to the church, one of the answers has been "start campus based churches". In fact, some now advocate that as the only answer. What will campus based churches produce 20 years from now in terms of church attendance, lay leadership in churches and most importantly on-going relationship with the Lord? I don't know. In fact, no one knows.
I was leading a workshop for a group of Sunday School teachers who taught university students in a traditional church. In the midst of our discussion, one of the volunteers said, "What students do about church after college is not our concern". I wholeheartedly disagreed then and do now. Perhaps, he was saying we can't control what they do after college when it comes to church. I agree with that.
But, part of what we do in reaching college students for Christ must be pointing them to the future...how they can serve, how they can give, how God would use them.....and doing it as part of a church....not a Lone Ranger in faith. Remember the new survey category...."spiritual, but not religious". That's not a goal of any College Ministry....that I know of.
Will "College Student Only" churches point students to church later in life? I don't know.....no body does.