I’ve tried to show in this series of entries that for us in the church or the campus to do effective collegiate ministry, we must begin far earlier than when students arrive on the college campus. The senior year in high school is too late as well. Thom Rainer argues effectively in his book Essential Church that age 16 is when teens start to drop out of church. (It’s a great resource for those wanting more research and insight into the subject of reaching young adults.)
In summary, here are some things I’ve highlighted that may help us re-begin our witness and encouragement to young adults in the church:
- Desegregating youth groups from the church at large
- Establishing well-defined and meaningful transitions to adulthood
- Raising our expectations of church and young adults
- Making the faith stories of church members a vital part of worship and small groups
Collegiate ministers located on the college campus have their work cut out for them. They face a difficult, time-consuming challenge: proclaim the Gospel to lost students and reclaim the “Christianized” students. In the latter, they work to transform an apathetic, dead faith crawl to a vibrant, glorious faith walk. At present, it’s a losing battle. Collegiate ministers need help from the church.
They must not disconnect from the church in frustration, but instead radically reconnect with the church with a fresh vision of what it will take to reach this generation together. I believe that in order for collegiate ministry to be done well, it must be done early. The hurdles in our churches are not insurmountable. Let’s jump high!