College students pose an enigma for churches. If you have them in your church, it usually means that you will have their youth and energy for probably the next few years (either summers or during the year) and then they will be gone. Let alone the fact that if they are in the area because of the college by the time you have a good enough relationship with them to know where they’re coming from, you’ve lost valuable time.
And yet, because of their youth they may be some of the most valuable assets to a church– and you can’t forget that men are taking longer to come back to the church.
I think that too many churches don’t take full advantage of the resources around them, and I also believe that this is due to the amount of work to get into these places.
For one thing, it’s hard to build a bridge to a college if you don’t have college aged kids in your church to begin with. What is to attract them? Certainly you have your doctrine, maybe a drama or some other interest that you can tap into, but it’s hard to draw someone without people their own age. Of course, this doesn’t negate the work of the Lord to go and help an on campus Bible Study– which is a great idea– but it does mean that you’ll need younger workers to reach a younger group.
Next, there’s making sure they fit in and finding ways for them to make the most impact once they’ve chosen your church. College is a time where young people are defining who they are, and it’s important that the church play a part in helping them develop good spiritual habits during this time. That means being part of a local assembly.
Last, a set of college kids can help bring energy and passion to a church. They can be the youth workers that aren’t tired out because they’re still fresh. They may have a passion for evangelism, and their young idealistic minds are much more prone to follow the spirit’s leading even if the older saints deem something to be impossible.
There’s a lot to be gained from having college kids in your church. The question is: If you have the opportunity, are you willing?