College is a unique season of life. It is filled with new experiences, relationships and a plethora of new decisions to be made. One of the biggest decisions for a college student is what church to get connected to. In the midst of on-campus commitments, many students miss the opportunity of joining and serving a local body of Christ. As college semesters begin, churches can prepare themselves to both receive and involve students in their ministry. During this season, college students want to be part of something “bigger than themselves”. They want to use their time wisely. And they want to be known for more than just being a student. Here are three simple ways to involve college students in church ministry:
- Engage Relationally
This one seems to be a no-brainer, but at times it can be overlooked. Before asking a student to sign up for a new members class or “test-drive” a ministry, take some time to get to know them. Encourage members to take students out to lunch. Invite college students to coffee or to a “meet the pastor” event. Ask them questions such as: Where are they from? What is their major? What are their interests or hobbies? Take time to show them you care.
- Establish Involvement
As you intentionally engage with students, you will begin to identify some of their interests and giftings. Use this information as a way to get students involved with the different church ministries. Not all college students want to serve in children’s ministry. Instead, find ways for them to use their unique talents and gifts to serve the church. Continually invest in them and try not to limit the ways that God can use college students in your church.
- Encourage and Appreciate
Throughout the semester, students will hit peaks of busyness and moments of breakdown. As much as you desire for them to stay connected, make sure to continually encourage them. A simple appreciation can go a long way. At times, the greatest form of appreciation that a student receives is a passing grade. Seeking to intentionally recognize them for their service will help to keep them involved. It will also inspire them to belong to a local church for the rest of their lives.
The next time a college student walks through the church doors, remember the unique season they are in and the different ways that God wants to use them.