I would argue that nearly all – or all – college ministers can play a significant role with their students over the Christmas break. Remember, this is a significant moment in students’ lives – these 3 to 5 weeks are no small chunk out of the year, and they’re often filled with temptation, family, emotions, boredom… And many of our students won’t encounter nearly the kind of shepherding they did when school was in session.
Will you help them?
I posted the thoughts below last December, but they fit with yesterday’s thoughts. Hopefully you’ll be in contact with your students – and maybe this will give you some fodder for what you share.
It’s interesting to realize that while the greater Church sees Christmastime as both a high point of the year and an extremely active time of year, for college ministry it’s often the opposite. Even many church-based college ministries experience a sharp decline in activity and work.
Since that’s true, it’s pretty natural for college ministers to talk very little about the Christmas story, unlike just about any other minister out there.
And I’m not sure that’s such a great thing.
Yes, many Christian students will get a healthy dose of “Christmas-ness” (both sacred and secular versions) in the week or two following Finals, once they’re away from school. And for the many who grew up in Christian homes, much of that Christmas-ness has become so familiar it borders on (or has fully crossed into) cliché.
But if we college ministers are spending our whole lives reaching this very particular group of people – college students – then shouldn’t we be really good at translating for this audience? We should be all about busting up clichés for them, translating the many truths of our Faith for our very specific hearers – not translating simply to the point of understanding but to the point of students grasping the truths and feeling their weight.
So if you have room this year, you might try your hand at translating Christmas for your students. The old, old story that Linus speaks from that stage or that they’ll hear at the Christmas Eve service back home is amazing, life-changing stuff… but college students may need our help to re-see that.
(I posted some thoughts on HOW to do this right here – and be sure to check out that post’s comments for others’ great ideas!)