As the school year launches, schedules are packed, students are anxiously excited and families are adjusting to their new norms. The question arises, what will become of this next generation?
As a collegiate missionary, my hope is that this generation will be one filled with people that are living out Gospel-centered lives, serving others with immense compassion, diving into God’s word and sharing the truth they find with others.
But how can we reach, equip and send this generation of unique individuals, each with exceedingly high expectations of themselves and the organizations they choose to engage with?
Students Are Searching
The latest data shows that college students are looking for all the right things. More than 79% of this generation believes that having a sense of purpose is the key to living a full life. They aspire to make a difference in the way they invest their time and resources, and they want to join organizations that serve a greater purpose by loving the community.
Genuine conversations with church members have encouraged me. Some Christians feel anxious and lack confidence in addressing the issues students face, but many are filled with a desire to use their gifts to reach the next generation. The promise is that they simply don’t know what that looks like. If you are in this boat, don’t lose heart!
A woman from a local church recently approached me about our college ministry. She loves baking cookies and offered to make some for us if it would be helpful. Little did this kindhearted individual know, we are preparing to host small groups this fall, and our campus ministry focuses on hospitality evangelism. A big part of our strategy is providing food for students during small groups. This woman didn’t know how God would use her simple offer to doing something she enjoys for His glory. Yet she stepped out in faith, and God is using her to bless us and local students.
God honors our giving of simple gifts. These acts of serving in kindness move members of the next generation to see things from a new perspective. As you think of the next generation, trust God to use the talents and passions He has given you. Remember: you are not responsible for reaching the next generation alone. We do this as the Body of Christ, each of us with different roles and purposes but working together by stepping out in faith.
The Fields Are White
Earlier I mentioned that more than 79% of the next generation believes that having a purpose is key to living a fulfilling life. But 64% of those students don’t feel like they have a sense of purpose now. They are looking and longing to know what their purpose is. They are hungry to know God and His people and to have their identity clearly affirmed as a child of God.
Imagine what our society would look like if we each took a small step of faith to help reach them with the truth through genuine acts of kindness. Whether it’s baking two dozen cookies once a month, or something completely different, will you step out in faith and help us reach the next generation with the Gospel? Reach out to someone involved in a local college ministry to find out how you can help reach the next generation!
Lauren Cartwright lives in Burlington, VT, where she serves as a collegiate missionary and is involved in women’s ministry. She blogs at www.pursuinghope.org