Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Mistake Church College Ministries are Making??

Someone who has never been a church college minister commenting on a mistake being made in church college ministry may seem inappropriate. But, in 41 years of campus based ministry I have seen lots of church based ministry and talked to my student leaders each week about their church experience.

Simply put, from my view, the most common and harmful mistake is separating students from the rest of the congregation. Students have said to me in recent years, "I don't know anyone at my church but the students and those who work in the University ministry." Churches that once did student adoption programs where students were paired up with a family in the church have dropped the program. So many of our students today come out of broken and or dysfunctional homes that one of the best things we can do for them is connect them to a family.

As students search for their major and direction in life, one of the best things they can do is see and talk with those who follow Jesus and do non-ministerial jobs. First Baptist, Tallahassee (Florida State) has a lunch where they suit students at tables according to career interest. Eating with them at those tables are older adults who work in those careers. What a blessing to both groups!

To my knowledge no follow-up study has been done to see how those who have been in student only worship transition to church involvement after college. But, I fear that they have not learned how to do church where everything is not specifically for them. The ultimate and most important test for any college ministry is what their students do after college. One college Sunday school teacher said to me some time back, "what students do after college is of no concern to us.". I think he meant we can't contol it....but it needs to be a concern to us in deciding how we do church college ministry. Let's not succumb to just what draws the biggest crowd for the moment.

By the way. Do you know the latest studies by Lifeway of 20'somethings show one of their great desires is to know and be mentored by adults older than them. Let's do our students and our church a favor by doing all we can to connect them!

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