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Kyle

Church and the University

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And I'd also be interested in the discussion on serving a student-based community. Our church plant, which is now about five years old, is very close to the campus of the Ohio State University. Not surprisingly, we attract a lot of students. And students are a transitory lot. They stick around for two years, four years, and then they're gone. So I'm curious to hear how other churches view this scenario, and how it plays out in terms of their long-term vision. On one hand, it is what it is, and we simply have to adapt to the notion that many people in the church will be here for only a short season of their lives. But from a relational standpoint it's sometimes discouraging, and it's difficult to build much momentum. So I'm curious to read how other churches in university neighborhoods adapt to these challenges.

Hmmm, there could be a lot of good discussion here! Maybe we should make a separate, permanent thread for it in the Religion section (or whatever it's called now)? My church is located ON college property, and while we do have a solid core of non-student members, many of us (myself included) were students that started attending before eventually joining the church or even the denomination.

Done. I have more to say, but work is a-calling.

As an initial thought, I try to think in terms of a sending a ministry. We're preparing these men and women for a life of faithfulness. The college ministry where my wife works takes a two-fold approach. One: they're introducing college students to Jesus Christ and two: for those whom come to school with a faith background, they're helping the transition from a childhood to an adult faith.

As a second quick thought, one thing that's great about social networking sites such as Facebook is that allows continued contact with people after they leave school.

A third quick thought: at least in our region, students are flighty. They're connected to multiple churches and campus ministries. It's not at all strange to go to one Church, help with a youth group at another, and attend a third campus ministry that's not at all connected to the other two. It's vital to stay abreast and connected to what the other churches and minsitries are doing so at the very least you can be supportive and knowing of the happenings and going ons elsewhere.

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FWIW, our denomination has a dedicated college ministry: RUF (Reformed University Fellowship). A good portion of the college ministry takes place through that. However, our church plant (and our mother church) have devised other ways to minister and build relationships with college students.

The first example that comes to mind is families in the church "adopting" college students in the church. They have students over for dinner once a week, let them do laundry at their house, etc. -- basically, the families meet the student's practical needs. One lady in our church cooks dinner for one of our college students once or twice a week; in exchange, he's teaching her son how to play drums. It's not a college ministry, per se, but free food goes a long way with college students, as you can imagine.

I'd also say that our church has been rather lucky with continuing relationships. There have been a decent number of students who, when they graduate college, go on to a seminary that our churches have a lot of ties to, so there's some continuity right there.

Personally, I'm excited that four college guys -- including two from our church -- are moving into a house just down the street from ours. I'm hoping we'll get to know them, have them over for "community dinner", see them around the neighborhood, etc.

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Well I work for what started out as a student church, but as students have stayed around and grown up we now have lots in their 30s, and now about 30 kids as well. Still nearly everyone came to Loughborough either as a student or because they were connected with someone who was a student. So andy, perhpas we could chat in more detail. Not got much time at the moment, and another medium might suit, but happy to at some point.

THe key for us I think was that we had to invest into our students there was no plan B, and I think a combination of strong vision and building a really strong community meant that people wanted to stay around to continue to be part of that when they graduated. Plus we got a couple of breaks as well.

all for now

Matt

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