A couple of times on this trip, I’ve run into churches with College Student Plans that didn’t involve a traditional, full-fledged college ministry. Yet these churches still seemed to be interacting with students in really strong ways.
I’ll give details on some of those churches and their Plans later, but this whole idea is a really important idea for church-based college ministries. And by extension, it’s important for campus-based ministries and Christian colleges, too, because it might just mean there’s room for complementing, partnering, and otherwise sharing the load of impacting students.
Perhaps some churches feel they must either have a full college ministry program or nothing at all. But this is simply not the case. In fact, if I began my big trip with the faint illusion that every church should build a full-fledged college ministry program, my research quickly cured me of that notion. Not every church needs a standard, holistic college ministry, and obviously not every church will be able to support that level of investment. In fact, our Christian cause among campus tribes would actually be damaged if every local church began competing for the students on the campus.
But every church that encounters college students must plan for that encounter.
Of course, the specifics of this Plan will vary between churches, as differences in context, resources, capabilities, location, and other factors are taken into account. Ultimately, hundreds of churches will develop an altogether unique College Student Plan for their situation, as God lends His brilliance for this very important mission work.
But what shouldn’t happen anymore is thousands of Christian students finding no Plan in place in the home churches in which they grew up. Nor should students find themselves ignored by the churches they happen to visit during the college years. Each of these churches must do something, with purpose and precision, to make room for the people from the campus tribes.
Written from Pacific Palisades, California