The Migration Season for our college age young people has begun. Youth Sundays with recognition of the graduating seniors is the congregation's way of launching them out of the nest. Launched with the unspoken assumption that they will test their wings and eventually return when it is time for them to have children. Sent off with little or no support.
How many times have you collegiate ministers received communication from a congregation informing you that one of their members has enrolled in your institution? For me, in 22 years, less than 10 letters or e-mails! That's neglectful, and pityful.
We wring our hands because our congregations are getting smaller, yet we allow a whole segment to leave by the back door. We forget our vows we made to them when they were baptized.
Chuck Bomar, who blogs at College Ministry Thoughts, is doing good work in thinking about and addressing this area of congregational inaction. He pushes for every congregation to have some intentional strategy for ministry to the college aged, whether that congregation is near an higher education institution or not. And he emphases personal connections over programs.
His new book, The Slow Fade, (written along with a pastor and a recent college graduate) encourages congregations and families to invest in college-aged people, to prevent the "slow fade" from active involvement in faith communities. Investing means connecting students with the full life of the faith community by providing them with nurturing inter-generational relationships and meaningful service. This is not campus ministry, but might overlap into it.
The Slow Fade is a helpfull little book for congregations near your institutions, or for fculty or staff who might be feeling called to be more involved in the spiritual life of students. It is a plea to understand the twenty somethings and an encouragement for adults in the congregation to be involved in the life of a college student, not just for the well-being of the college student, but for the enrichment of the entire faith community.
Campus ministry can't do it all.
2018 Conference - Creating Many Ripples Best Practices in Campus Ministry featuring workshops from the Campus Ministry Theological Exploration of Vocation Initiative* June 8...
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