“Remember your Creator during your youth: when all possibilities lie open before you and you can offer all your strength intact for his service. The time to remember is not after you become senile and paralyzed! Then it is not too late for your salvation, but too late for you to serve as the presence of God in the midst of the world and the creation. You must make take sides earlier—when you can actually make choices, when you have many paths opening at your feet, before the weight of necessity overwhelms you.”
Jacques Ellul, Reason for Being: A Meditation on Ecclesiastes
A couple of years ago we brought on Addison Hawkins to help us think through and provide some intentionality in welcoming college students into our community. He, along with his wife Lynnette and more recently Ruthy and Simon, have been doing just that. And not only welcoming them but discipling them as well.
To get a better sense of how things are going I thought I would share a “by the numbers” look that Addison recently gave in his session report:
I was so encouraged by that list. I think we all know how critical the college years are for faith formation. Steve Garber in his book The Fabric of Faithfulness, which seeks to explore the factors that influence the sustainability of faith through the college years and beyond, identifies three key ingredients for said sustainability: 1) Worldview formation - does the student have a view of the world that distinguishes truth from falsehood and incorporates a narrative that makes sense of good and evil, death and life, success and failure. 2) A nurturing community beyond the campus in which the student can continue to draw from and grow in once the college years are done. 3) Mentors who can give a vision for what faithfulness can look like as the years play out. What better place to gain all three of these is there than in the local church!
So praise the Lord for these young people and pray for them! Pray specifically that leadership would emerge, both from within the group as well as from these “mentors” who would walk with these college students. Specifically we have a desire to expand our hours spent on downtown campuses to even more intentionally connect with students, many of whom are unaffiliated with church. And don’t be afraid to pull some of these folks aside and introduce yourself, invite them over, take them to a movie, whatever … They need people like you in their lives.