Each Sunday morning, the halls of Bible Church fill with a beautiful picture of the Gospel. That is, we are a fellowship made up of every generation and stage of life. Part of that beautiful picture is those who are in their college years, walking through both an exciting and crucial stage of life. As we gather alongside these students each Sunday, I would like to offer four ways that we can better love the college students who call CHBC home.
1. Say, “Hello!”
This may seem quite obvious, but the implications are rather large. Introducing yourself and getting to know our students a bit can have a lasting impact on how welcome they feel at church, and it also sets an example of what it means to be a hospitable fellowship. Even if this means identifying just one student to say hello to each week, or saying hello to as many as possible, reaching out to them and starting conversations goes a long way.
2. Be a Source of Encouragement
The studies are in and students are now reporting higher levels of stress and anxiety than previous generations. Under the weight to perform, ace exams, and numerous other social pressures, a few kind words of encouragement are needed by our students. Checking in to let them know you care and offering to pray for our students is a great way to disciple the budding adults in our congregation.
3. Build Relationships
This takes time, but if the first two suggestions are regularly followed this will naturally occur. Along with that, we can easily forget that one of the greatest ministry tools we have is simply sharing a meal with someone. An invitation to lunch, or having students over for dinner, can spark conversations and moments for discipleship that might not happen on a typical Sunday morning.
Food is a universal language that transcends age differences (as well as most other differences!) and we would be wise to make use of it for building and fostering community.
4. Mentor Students
The college years are some of the most formative years in a person’s life. Students are figuring out not only what they want to do in life, but also the type of person they want to be. They are asking the big questions of meaning and purpose, and being a sounding board and guide as students process these questions can help set them on a trajectory for success in life and faith. In College Collective, we hope to graduate students who will have an impact for the Kingdom of God, and walking alongside them one-on-one can produce spiritual dividends we cannot begin to imagine.
Now, you may have noticed that there is a natural progression to the four suggestions above. As we get to know and encourage students, relationships will form and discipleship will happen. The start is small and temporal, but the outcome can be vast and eternal. So, as we gather this Sunday, might I encourage all who read this to maybe take that first step. Say “Hi” to one of our students and ask them how they are doing. You never know, it might just make all the difference.