quick ponderings on college ministry & young adult ministry

  1. College Ministry and Young Adult Ministry are not one and the same. There are major differences, even though there’s some overlap, too.
  2. If we want really strong Young Adult Ministry in Christendom, it makes sense to build strong College Ministry.
  3. We (college ministers) should listen to young adult ministers as we determine how to prepare our students best.
  4. Young adults can make for really great College Ministry staff and volunteers.
  5. The growing focus on better ministry to 18-30-somethings is going to help everybody, and there are a lot of resources, research, and events that will help both types of ministry at the same time.
  6. In some churches, it’s best to connect College Ministry with Young Adult Ministry in the organizational structure. In some churches, something else is better. We need to make sure we’ve thought this one through; it might have bigger ramifications than we’d expect.
  7. Campus-based college ministries can’t forget that they’re sending their students on to Young Adult Land, and opportunities for discipleship will mostly be church-based in that land.
  8. Church-based college ministries can’t forget that Young Adult Ministry isn’t usually like College Ministry, so students have to be specially prepared for success in that new world.


  1. Had an interesting conversation with one of our campus missionaries who was asking me about non-traditional students and how should she be willing to incorporate them into her outreach on campus. That is another thorny issue. Like to hear your thoughts on non-trad students and college ministry.

  2. You’re right – that is thorny.

    Thanks for the idea, too – this will make a good post, as one of the many “special cases” that college ministry faces.

    Personally, I would probably answer that it’s highly dependent on the context, number of non-traditional students, and even the activities involved. So I’d take it on a case-by-case basis.

    My philosophy tends to place students in groups by “locus of community,” at least to a large extent. Traditional college students often look primarily to community on campus or at least within groups of friends in the same transitional lifestyle as themselves. That seems to define their “culture,” at least to some extent.

    My guess would be that non-trad students have a different locus of community. When that’s the case, then our impact of them will not be as effective, and their connection with the rest of the group won’t be as strong. So in at least a lot of cases, I would tend to point those people toward the age group ministry (generally at a church) that fits them best. While they are technically students-at-a-college, they wouldn’t be in every college ministry’s focus group.

    BUT, that (A) doesn’t mean we wouldn’t still impact them as much as we can (just like we’d try to impact anybody else we meet), and (B) doesn’t mean there aren’t some specific activities that would include them. Specifically, I’m thinking about mid-day campus outreach lunches as an example.

    I’m rambling philosophically here, but that’s really because, again, I’d have to pray like crazy for wisdom on a case-by-case basis!

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