I believe every church in the vicinity of an institute of higher learning should be involved in ministering to a local campus. Admittedly, I’m biased. I’ve spent nearly three decades on or around college campuses.
From the time I was in high school and learned about a church plant on the college campus down the street to the present, I have been involved in and paying attention to evangelistic works on campuses. I believe the college campus is the most strategic mission field (and I unpacked this idea a little in my last article).
So here are five reasons your congregation should be involved in making disciples on a college campus:
1. The college campus is a prime environment for the spread of the Gospel.
There are no other locations where people who are young, mobile and intellectually pursuing truth are gathered in such tight geography. Reaching one student with the Gospel will lead to much Gospel witness as they live life with other peers for four years. Students reach students, so one of the most effective ways you can be involved on a college campus is to disciple and train those students who are already connecting with your church.
2. Students will soon leave.
Yes, this means that students who are worshiping with you today will likely not be with you tomorrow. But it also means they will be somewhere tomorrow, and through your investment in them, you will have opportunity to help shape what tomorrow looks like. Students are mobile: they will be going to the cities, back to hometowns in need of Gospel-preaching churches, into business that will take them across the world and into the mission God calls them. Your church’s “sending capacity” and influence will expand locally on campus and geographically as you disciple students who will graduate.
3. Student-centered para-church ministries need you.
It is through the Church that the “manifold wisdom of God” is made known (Eph. 3:10). Gospel-focused campus ministries do Great Commission work: missionaries are working diligently to share the Gospel and make disciples. But without the church, this work is incomplete, and the witness is weakened. Through robust partnership with the local church, Gospel witness will be strengthened and disciple making more fully realized.
4. The nations are present on campus.
We enjoy opening our home to college students, and this year we have been able to host and share Bible stories and the Gospel with students from nearly one dozen countries, some of which are closed to Christian missionary witness.
5. New England students are present on campus.
Lest we forget, a significant majority of people growing up in New England will not be exposed to the Gospel. And the majority of students on a campus in New England will not hear the gospel during their 2-4 years of study.
If you have questions about how to get involved on campus, please do not hesitate to reach out to me by email or at 508-393-6013 x233.
Andy Haynes serves as the Next Generation Co-Director of Collegiate Ministries at the Baptist Convention of New England.