Those of us who do College Ministry know that what a college freshman does their first three weeks of their fall semester often shapes their whole college career and faith walk. Psychologists say the two greatest times of change in a person's life are birth to one...and high school graduation to Christmas.
In their book, WHY THEY STAY, Dr. Steve Parr and Dr. Tom Crites say in their study of young adults active in church demonstrated, if college freshmen connected to a church or campus ministry in the fall semester, they were "138% more likely to stay involved at age 30". I don't understand the math of that, but I have seen the reality of that truth. In connecting with young Christians who come to college, the fall semester is key....and I would narrow that down to the first three weeks. That is when shaping friendships are made and schedules are developed.
College ministry leaders have long been frustrated by the attempts to get the names of Christian students coming to their campus with little success. Some years ago, one State wide denominational college ministry sent a letter to 1200 of their churches requesting the names and contact info of their students going to college. They got less than twenty responses....out of 1200 letters!
We can greatly influence the likelihood of a college student walking with the Lord, if we provide their name and contact info to a Christian ministry on that campus. Southern Baptists have established www.sbccampusconnect.net where these names can be provided and they will be forwarded to the appropriate campus.
What if every church and parent made sure their son or daughter's name was provided? What if someone in every church would decide that every student graduating from their church would get a spiritual contact at the start of their college career?
Many years ago, my elderly mother each spring would go through her small town's weekly newspaper and make a list of the graduates who would attend my campus. She would then look up their addresses and send them to me. Wonder how many lives she affected for God's kingdom?