As a college freshman, I wanted to make a name for myself. I was like most people, looking to do something meaningful with my life. But, by my sophomore year, I was struggling to believe in God.
It was difficult but I struggled through the process of finding my own faith. I was so passionate about this newfound faith in Christ that I sensed a call to serve in ministry. I know firsthand how crucial the college years can be.
This is one of the primary reasons I love campus ministry: it changed my life. I found my faith there, discovered a call to ministry there, and got my first ministry experience there.
Unfortunately, many students will never be exposed to a ministry like the one that touched my life as a college student. For instance, the university campus is incredibly underserved in my tribe…
In the U.S., there are only 125 campus ministries affiliated with the Churches of Christ.
With thousands of universities in the U.S., it’s clear there’s a great need. The university campus is a very strategic place to do ministry. I believe what Bill Bright said with all my heart…
I can think of at least three reasons why reaching college students needs to be a part of every church’s strategy for reaching the world…
1. College is one of the last open windows into the soul.
Like me when I was 18, college freshmen don’t have a fully formed world view. There’s an incredible level of openness to new ideas on college campuses. As a general rule, students are incredibly open during this season of life.
There’s no better time for a person to be engaged with the message of Christ. In fact, the older a person gets, the less likely they are to make a decision to follow Jesus.
2. The world comes to the U.S. for college.
During the 2013-14 school year, 886,052 international students came to the U.S. for undergraduate or graduate studies. This presents an incredible opportunity. We’re called to “go into all the world.” But, the whole world comes to our college campuses every year! We could conceivably reach the world — literally — without leaving the country.
3. Historically, movements have started among college age people.
There’s a rich history when it comes to university students pioneering mission efforts with global impact. In fact, Dr. J. Edwin Orr went as far as to say ”Every spiritual awakening has been spread by university students.”
According to Steve Shadrach, “The last 250 plus years of Protestant missions from the West have been spearheaded and sustained primarily by college students.”
You see this over and over throughout history…
“God uses young people again and again to help restore nations and shape their destiny. It’s not a hope statement or what Dietrich Bonhoeffer might have called a ‘wish dream.’ It’s the inescapable reality of the witness of history. Young people stand at the heart of the salvation story.” Pete Greig, Red Moon Rising
If there’s going to be a spiritual awakening in the U.S., it will likely start on the university campus. That’s why reaching college students needs to be a part of every church’s strategy for reaching the world.
Can you think of anything I’ve missed? I’d love to hear your thoughts.