Help them find connections between their college experiences and the Bible.
Among the new experiences of college, it’s easy to lose connection with Jesus and the Bible. Many students have a hard time seeing the relevance of Scripture to their everyday lives. What does Jesus have to do with classes, studying, parties, and Greek life?
That’s one of the reasons why 66% of young adults who regularly attended worship during their high school years drop out of church for at least a year between the ages of 18 and 22, according to a 2019 Lifeway Research study.
Develop Bible-based resources specifically for the problems and experiences college students are navigating daily, like a “Bible Verses for College Students” or a series of lectures like “What Does God Say About [Dating/Making New Friends/Ambition]”? Make these resources available to students in non-church settings, like the bulletin board in the dining hall or a fraternity newsletter.
Encourage them to be leaders.
Strong identity in Christ is a cornerstone of Christian leadership. Young adults who learn the value of leadership early on become stronger leaders as they age. Today’s college students will be tomorrow’s church leaders, senators, CEOs, media personalities and more.
Whether they pursue a secular or a faith-based calling, it is important to train students to apply Christian values to their vision-building, decision-making processes and their interactions with others. Having a strong relationship with God can also help them remain calm and centered when they are faced with stressful situations.
Philippians 2:3-4 tells us, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” And Jesus told his followers, “Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant” (Matthew 20:26). College ministers have the important role of teaching these principles of leadership to students, so that they set them in their hearts for a lifetime.
Encourage Christian-inspired travel.
It’s one thing to be a Christian on a college campus, but experiencing faith through the lens of an unfamiliar place can have a strong impact on a student’s relationship with God and their faith.
Encourage the students you work with to study abroad and look for travel opportunities during winter, spring and summer breaks. Help them evaluate the programs that interest them to determine which ones have the potential to help them grow in their faith.
Countries like England, France, Costa Rica and Australia are among the most popular study abroad locations. Many don’t immediately think of Israel, but it can be a life-changing experience to walk the land where Jesus walked and traversing the paths of the patriarchs, kings, prophets, and the first disciples. Christianity has its origins in Israel, and the country today is rich with culture, diversity, beauty that can make a student’s faith far more personal.
Encourage students to apply for travel programs that will help them grow in their faith and help them feel closer to God. This will also help them become stronger Christian leaders when they return, so that they can help other students navigate their own lives of faith.