15 Aug 2012

College Ministry 2.0

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Blog | Gabe Hagstrom

It’s not good for man to be alone. Have you ever gone to a party alone, or maybe arrived a bit too early and your friends haven’t quite shown up yet? Every single moment can be an anxious affair while you’re waiting for a familiar face.

I think going to church can be a lot like that party, especially our church. We have some incredibly friendly greeters who are great ambassadors and can remember more names than the Facebook login at a public library. But once visitors have been welcomed, we want to help them find comfortable community so that they can experience God in fellowship with others who also love God.

There is a set of folks that is in particular need to be reached out to and guided toward community: College students.

COLLEGE

I went to church all throughout college. It was some of the loneliest years of my life. I enjoyed talking to the married guys and the younger kids, but I wasn’t really ready to call it a night at 9pm. And I also wasn’t too into bakugan… So even though we had a love for Christ in common and I received a lot of encouragement, there just wasn’t much in the way of fellowship.

My Junior year I joined a Bible study with The Navigators, an on campus organization that reads the Bible with students. Suddenly I had 4 guys I was meeting with who were going to classes like mine, dealing with group projects like mine, and dealing with fears like mine. When there are so many similarities in experience, there is an awesome opportunity to explore how God is present in all of them– driving out fear, fitting Himself into group project meetings, and speaking to everything I was learning in the classroom. That study with those 4 guys was like caffeine to a college kid who was awake and alive but not yet thriving.

Growing Together in Fellowship

Here in San Diego we have four major universities and at least two local colleges, all well represented in our church congregation and membership. Students are a bit different from the normal visitor to church. They’re possibly out on their own for the first time, looking for a church that wasn’t attended by their parents for the first time, and desperate to find their place in a community. A lot of times after a couple visits these students can get lost and disappear, frustrated that they couldn’t make a connection with anyone.

I love that we have community groups set up to meet these folks, guide them, get them some interaction and care from more experienced generations. But friends from different schools also need to find each other and process their really similar life experiences and struggles. They need opportunities to find fellowship with their peers at church so that God can deepen and make use of each relationship to excite curiosity and grow affections toward Him.

On the 3rd Saturday of every month Resolved college students get together for encouragement from their peers. We have a time to share stories, put names to faces, and create memories. As Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!…For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.”

Serving Together in Membership

In time I want the students at The Resolved to be a source of energy for the rest of the church. I want them to be a resource that our families can turn to when they need to be ministered to in practical ways. I would love to setup a retreat every semester. Nothing deepens relationships like 96 straight hours of intimate fellowship. Mostly I want relationships to come out of these times that continue to amplify God’s glory.

Here’s where you come in. If you’re college student or young professional, be on the lookout for event that we’ll announce in church. These are opportunities for you to come encourage others and be encouraged. Invite friends from your campus, church people or not, and be interested in getting to know some folks from other campuses.

If you have a particular burning in your soul to serve and work with college students, let me know and we’ll take care of some of that burning. And by that I mean you would be a great help in creating this group.

And that’s it, really. I want to reach our college students, help them get organized and meet each other so they encourage each other in growth, bear with one another in love, spur one another towards faith and good deeds, and have people that they can set out with and hash through this great mystery and miracle that is God’s story of redemption in their lives.

If you want to get involved or get any information on future events simply fill out this quick and easy form: College Ministry

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