Why Church Leaders Need to Invest in Collegiate Ministry

College students can have a great positive influence on your church.
College students can have a great positive influence on your church. (Flickr )

I don't know the location of your church, but I suspect you have a college or university within driving distance. You might have college students in your church every week.

I've previously written about why churches must reach college students, but I'm writing this post to challenge church leaders specifically to intentionally invest in them. If you take that step, here's what you will bring to you:

1. Energy. Last week, I spent two days with college students in Mississippi. I wish I had half of their energy. Churches need some of their energy, so bring them into your congregation.

2. Passion. College students are more willing to go anywhere and risk any cost than my generation was at their age. By their very presence, they will challenge your apathetic members. And you, perhaps. 

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3. Global commitment. They may not know their geography well, but they're willing to go to nations they've never heard of.

4. Multiculturalism. College students will often want your church to be multicultural. In fact, you can quickly take your church in that direction by connecting with international students—many who come from other faith backgrounds but who are interested in learning about Christianity.

5. Honesty. Collegians are brutally honest—sometimes too much so for their own good—but they won't tolerate fake Christianity for long. They demand authenticity.

6. Depth. They're the ones who bring their journals to church and take notes on your sermon. They'll ask you questions that will force you back to your Bible commentaries and your systematic theology textbooks.

7. Reality. In many cases, they're more aware of the struggle of living in the real world than the rest of us church leaders are. They're not caught in the Christian bubble that has enveloped us.

8. Worship. Give them room and freedom to worship, and they'll show you how to get lost in wonder. And they won't worry that you're watching.

9. Social action. Collegians care about issues like sex trafficking, hunger, refugees and disaster relief. They want to do something to make a difference. They'll turn your church outward. 

10. Interest. They will want to get to know you. They're longing and looking for Christian men and women to invest in them.

If you're a church leader, I challenge you to find out where the nearest college students are. Connect with ministries on that campus. Get to know some students. Hang out with them.

Even if you think your church isn't ready for a collegiate ministry, invite students into your home. Start a small-group Bible study or a simple fellowship group.

You'll likely need to rearrange your calendar and reprioritize your ministry activity a bit, but I encourage you to take this step. I doubt you'll regret it.  

Chuck Lawless is dean and vice president of Graduate Studies and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. In addition, he is Global Theological Education Consultant for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

For the original article, visit chucklawless.com.

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