Four hundred students who were involved in Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) were asked why they decided to become involved. These are the top 5 reasons they listed. Percentages equal more than 100% due to multiple answers.
1. Friendships 33.8%
2. Sense of Belonging 33.4%
3. Sense of Calling 25.7%
4. Worship 21.8%
5. Denominational Affiliation 3.3%
Note this is a slightly different question from "Why did you attend the first time?". The results of a survey of 1400 students who were asked that question are elsewhere on this blog......and is one of my all-time most read.
These responses remind us again that reaching students or keeping students in your ministry is all about relationships. Students can come to your ministry and even come to Christ and not stick because they don't feel a sense of belonging. We must continually work at developing a healthy community for students to come into.
The figure relating to Denominational Affiliation is not a surprise as we continue to see "Denominational loyalty" decline. Yet, I think for those of us who serve in the south where Baptists are as numerous as mosquitoes, it's not that simple. It's still a plus for many in attending the first time. And, it is a minus for some in deciding to come the first time. That is why many ministries have no denomination in their name....even though thye are sponsored by a particular church or denomination. I think the "Sense of Belonging" includes a wide variety of things and one of those is familiarity with the style of worship and generally the way things are done. Baptists, Methodists, Church of Christ, Assembly of God, etc, etc do things a little differently from each other. Our style is just there. So, I believe the denominational factor is a part of the "Sense of Belonging". We don't stay where we are not comfortable.
But, the bottom line is......Relationships are key to everything we do!