Finding a church family can be difficult for a college student.
It takes time to find a fellowship, plug in, grow in discipleship, and eventually explore areas of service. For many students, the potential 4 years they will commit to the town in which they study seems rather short. This perspective slims even more for 2 year community colleges.
God has blessed BCM to be a great catalyst for this process. At Sheridan College, here in Wyoming, students are enjoying a greater connection to the church community through BCM’s partnership with local churches.
Students typically attend Sheridan College for approximately 2-3 years; with such a short timeline, involvement in local churches can seem irrelevant, even for students who grew up in church or youth group. Also, many students do not have reliable transportation, connections to churches in town, or friends who are willing to attend with them.
Despite these obstacles, BCM provides the encouragement for students to include themselves in the local family of God. Though the church cannot easily come to the college, BCM serves as the liaison between community and campus. Now, many students are challenged to do even more than just attend a Sunday morning service.
For instance, one student committed to disciple junior-high girls for a year. Kenia, a culinary-arts and hospitality major, grew up in a small town a few hours from Sheridan. Several years attending youth-group set a great foundation for her pursuit of Christian community at college. Her initial energy toward BCM was exciting, but she was hesitant to commit to a local church. She joined the BCM leadership team, which was a meaningful way to serve the kingdom. By her 2nd (and final) year of college in Sheridan, she committed to a church.
Serving not Spectating:
One of the greatest motivators for Kenia’s commitment was the call to serve. Leaders in the church invited Kenia to help with junior-high and high-school girls Sunday-school. This opportunity helped to cultivate and strengthen Kenia’s own relationship with God, as well as her experience of serving within the church.
Blessed by the encouragement of other women in the church, Kenia offered her time and energy to mentor younger girls as well. This Titus 2 model of discipleship gave Kenia the tools to impact Sheridan, even if only for a short time. More importantly, she can refer to this experience in every transition of life.
In Kenia’s own words, spoken to her BCM Directors: “I feel equipped to maintain my relationship with God no matter what my circumstances. You helped me learn what it means to keep going, and not fall away. I am confident to go to [the next chapter of life] now. I know I can find a church, receive discipleship, and make a difference wherever I go.”
Through BCM, Kenia engaged with her spiritual family. But through the local church, she was able to participate, not merely spectate, in God’s work in the community as a whole.
BCM is not interested in prolonging the youth-group experience for students. Rather, we stand as a catalyst, cultivating students to be the church, with the church. We are so thankful for the partnership we receive from local faith communities to pursue this goal.
Picture: The words that Kenia’s junior-high girls used to describe her.
Want to help college students get plugged in to your church?
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to stir up a hunger in the hearts of college students
- Start a small group for college students. They are asking for it. (BCM currently doesn’t offer an in-depth, intimate setting designed for relational depth. We mainly focus on evangelism, teaching the truth, and plugging students in to churches.)
- Contact a college ministry director with flyers including worship service times and opportunities at your church. (For BCM, contact Becky Rosty, Co-Director and PR coordinator: 307-259-1316, firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Host a dinner course at your church building for the upcoming Progressive Dinner, Friday evening, October 4th, 2013. Or consider hosting your own progressive dinner for college students: have them visit 4 or 5 different homes of church members eager to encourage students. (Hint: college students LOVE home-cooked meals).
- Speaking of Home-cooked meals, encourage couples in your church to participate as “Host Families” in BCM’s Adopt a College Student Program.
- When students do show interest in your fellowship, welcome them, but don’t tip-toe around them. They want to meet more people, get involved, and make a difference. Give them that opportunity.