Chuck Bomar led a breakout workshop last year based on ministry to college-age people. Because many of our students were graduating, I felt it was a great opportunity for me to learn about how to minister to them.
Chuck made some amazing points on how we can begin to reach out to college students, providing them with what they need to feel a sense of belonging and growth. The main point was to do this through “non-mentor mentors.” The idea is to take the emphasis off of teaching them. Instead, focus on getting into their lives relationally, walk beside them, and create opportunities to discuss life and faith. A big quote I took away from this workshop was this: “If we cannot help college students find where they belong in the world, they will lose their identity in the world.” As a minister primarily to teenagers and their parents, I hear that resonate with what I do while those students are still in middle or high school. The goal of a college-age ministry is to help transition people from “student life” to “adult life.”
I bought his book, “The Slow Fade,” and I read it on the way home. It was probably the fastest I have ever read a book. Every point was solidified by what Chuck mentioned in his workshop. When I got home, I shared it with my wife, and we began to grow from it. We started to meet with our college seniors more often and make sure they are prepared for college. We also keep in contact with our college students more often. There is still much more we can do, and I thank Chuck for inspiring us to take action.
While my main ministry is focused on middle school and high school students, the fact is that the church cannot just let our college students go. At the very least, we need to make sure they are passed on to others who can continue to invest in them. As they navigate life from students to adults, the church needs to be present and active.