COLLEGE MINISTRY CORNER
Students are dropping out of the church at an alarming rate. In 2007, Ed Stetzer conducted a study for Lifeway Research which indicated that nearly 70 percent of churched youth leave the church for at least a year between ages 18 and 22. However, approximately 35 percent resume church attendance at least twice a month and another 30 percent attend more sporadically. The older our teenagers get the less likely they are to attend church.
Six reasons are laid out by David Kinnaman in “You Lost Me” (David does a fantastic job of describing these in detail. Pick up his book.)
- Church is an overprotective-environment of legalism. - We are not having honest conversations with our teenagers.
- Antagonist to science. - We can’t use science when it benefits us and discredit it when it doesn’t. There is a healthy balance.
- Church is shallow. - Tend to offer too “simplex” answers to complex questions.
- Attitude towards sexuality is simplistic and judgmental. - We must help them wrestle with the complex sexual issues within our culture.
- Wrestle with exclusive nature of Christianity. - We don’t compromise our faith, but it will take more work than simply handing them an apologetics packet.
- Church feels unfriendly to those who doubt. We must create a healthy environment for asking questions.
Additional obstacles to keeping our students in love with the “bride of Christ” (the church):
Difficulty of Cultivating Relationships: Students are leaving because they don’t feel like they belong. Belonging only happens in the context of relationships. America is so overly focused on individualism that our students think life is about them. We must do the hard/slow work of building real relationships with them. Their basic struggles are: Who Am I?, Where Do I Belong?, Why Do I Matter?
Affinity Groups: Students (people for that matter) are naturally attracted to those like themselves. We have to help our students see the value of getting to know others outside their age. (This is why adult led groups are so important.)
*Good measuring tool: If your High School seniors are hanging out in your youth ministry after graduation you didn’t help them feel belonging within the whole church.
Cook family, would you be willing to invest in the life of a student? There are several ways you could help with this.
- Be in prayer for our college ministry team (Philip & Joanne Hood, Will & Jessica Powell, Steven & Erika Breshears, Jake & Millie Haymon, Kevin & Sheila Nugent, Gabriel & Gemma Hyacinth, Adam & Ashley Napper, Ken & Dandy Monroe and Denise Baugh) that they would be able to develop relationships and build trust with our college-aged community here in Ruston….
- Have you ever considered helping on Sunday mornings or Wednesday nights with our college-aged? You don’t have to be a “teacher”….you could just be a warm, friendly smile who offers a hug and remembers a name. Won’t you pray about giving a little of your time to come be part of our college ministry team?
- Would you be willing to “adopt-a-college-student” in the fall? This is an awesome way to spend some 1-on-1 time with a student (or two), just offering them a “home-away-from-home” relationship….maybe you could meet them for coffee once a week, or invite them to use your laundry room once a month, or send them an encouraging text message or phone call every once in a while, or remembering their birthday and taking them out to eat! I promise you will be blessed by investing in the life of a college-aged person! Young adults are crying out for relationships…..I pray they would find one at Cook Baptist Church, rather than out at the local bar or club….’cause I promise you, they’ll find relationships somewhere.
If you’re interested in participating in our “Adopt-a-College-Student” ministry, please visit our church website at http://cookbc.org/events/event-sign-up/university/adopt-a-college-student to find out more information and to register. Thank you for being a church who loves college students!! Any ideas or suggestions for how we could do college ministry better? Please let us know! We love y’all!
Chris, Amanda, Makaylan, Hannah and Aaron Walker