Why the Local Church NEEDS College Students

Photo courtesy of: www.scriptoriumdaily.com

Updated 3/29/12

In a previous post I shared some thoughts on why I think college students need the local church.  This post sparked some good comments and conversations…

This leads me to believe that I’m not the only one thinking about this.

And that’s good!

Today I want to explore some thoughts on why I think the local church needs college students.

There are three primary reasons (although I’m sure we can identify more) why I think every local church NEEDS to have college students involved in their faith community.

College students bring energy and an ‘edge’

College students are known for their passion and passionate belief.  They often live at an energy level only associated with the college life — and when they bring that into the church it can offer a jolt — a boost — that serves to stir the faith community in some good, healthy ways.

At the same time, college students often bring with them new ideas, and difficult questions, from campus to the church.  This can serve to keep the church community on its’ toes — and a bit more engaged in the changing cultural climate, as well as keep them from getting stagnant and set in ruts and routines.  As college students pose questions, and push the collective faith community for more than the typical “church response,” they can help that faith community to explore new frontiers, face fears and unknowns, and challenge some of the preconceived notions that they hold.

I don’t know that there’s any other demographic that can do this for the Church the way that college students can.

College students set a model for both young and old

Along with their passion and ‘edge’, college students are often known for living out their faith in more radical ways than most.

They are willing to ask some of the life-changing, faith-forming questions that often scare a lot of the rest of us — and as they aggressively pursue truth, and seek out answers, they also strive to live according to their findings.  It’s radical, and draws the attention of both young and old.

Our youth (middle and high schoolers in particular) need the positive example that faithful college students can provide. They need to see that people older than them find “this faith stuff” important — even life-shaping!

Likewise, those of us beyond our college years need to see the passion, zeal and fervor with which many college students pursue Christ and seek to live out their faith.  We need to be spurred on by what we see in the college demographic, and equally challenged to live lives worthy of their emulation, so that we might be seen as relevant and worthy mentors for these younger believers — not to mention our families and other circles of influence.

College students are the future of the Church

Finally, we need college students in the local church because they are the future of the church.

They are our future leaders.

It doesn’t make sense to me that we would spend so much time and effort investing in them as youth, only to allow them to slip off the Church’s radar for 4 (or more likely 6-10) years, only then to resurface sometime after they’ve married and started a family… and at that point, attempt to step into important leadership roles… that they are likely not ready for or prepared to do.

The college years are some of the most formative of life.  So it is imperative that they be plugged into the local church during this critical time of life — learning how to love the Church,  lead in the Church, and incrementally claim some “ownership” in “being” the Church as they grow and mature.

There’s so much at stake here!

So those are a few reasons I have for why I think the local church needs college students.

What do you think?

Do you agree or disagree with any of the reasons I’ve shared?  If so, why?

Is there anything you would add to this list?

How significant do you believe it is to have a strong college demographic in the local church?  Why?

I’d love to know what you think!

Please take just a moment to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

About the author: Guy Chmieleski
Guy is the Founder and President of Faith On Campus. He is also the University Minister at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. He is the author of Shaping Their Future: Mentoring Students Through Their Formative College Years and CAMPUS gODS: Exposing the Idols That Can Derail Your Present and Destroy Your Future.