Reaching College students
It’s that time again! Students are going back to campuses. Students are wondering will I get along with my room-mate this semester? They are busy trying to understand their syllabi and their instructor’s emphasis for each assignment. Some maybe transferring from a different campus or maybe starting school for the first time. And amid all this, we know there is a spiritual component that needs to be addressed as well. Statistics tell us that ninety-five percent (95%) of the close to 900,000 people in Kentucky, aged 12 to 24, do not profess to be an active Christian. And for those who are currently active in church, statistics tell us that 60% of those students will be walking away from their faith after high school. Based on the facts there is only one logical question, “how does my church reach college-aged students?” The answer is always found by looking to Jesus (Heb 12:2). Let’s look at how Jesus called his first disciples in Matt 4:18-22 (Mar 1:16-20, Luk 5:2-11, Joh 1:40-42).
Each instance of disciples being called and subsequently developed is preceded by the proclamation of the Gospel. Any church that preaches the gospel will have a strong desire to be about kingdom business which is, “to make disciples of Jesus”. The Gospel gives us our direction for ministry and engagement of the culture.
Ministry of Presence
Secondly, notice the location of Jesus prior to calling his disciples. In Matt 4:18… “while walking by the Sea of Galilee”, Jesus could call his first disciples because he was where they were. You will never meet those by the Sea of Galilee if you never go to the Sea of Galilee. It is difficult and may I say impossible to engage college students if they don’t see you on campus. Your regional campus missionary can assist you in this effort.
Thirdly, Jesus observed those disciples as they were and for what they could be…” fishermen and fisher of men”. It is only by the grace of God that we are who we are (1 Corinth 15:10). As partakers of grace we must also show this same grace to others. It is only through this type of observation that we can see the needs of the students.
Students need food, love, and to experience family away from home. Buck Run Baptist Church initially began ministering to both the KSU men’s and women’s basketball team through families in their church welcoming students into their homes. East Frankfort Baptist Church began ministering to the KSU baseball team with a church sponsored Wii baseball game against the team. Reaching college students is easier than you think but you must be willing to…… “walk by the Sea of Galilee”.