Chelsea had seen many of her older friends fall away from their faith in college. She did some research and learned that this happens to 7 out of 10 students, and she was determined to not let it happen to her. Through a website that she used, Chelsea was able to find the Navigators at the University of Nebraska and was able to meet the leaders and other students involved in the ministry over the summer. This also helped her find a Christian roommate.
Her first night on campus, four girls in her dorm invited Chelsea and her roommate to a party. Chelsea convinced them all to go to a Navigators hangout instead. Today, a couple of years later, all six are still a part of the Navigators and are strongly walking with Christ!
The best way to stay strong with God in college is to be part of a community of believers, and it’s critical that students are plugged in as soon as possible their freshmen year.
For example, in an InterVarsity chapter in Geneseo, New York, a student radically put their faith in Jesus during freshmen orientation. That then resulted in several dozens of other students coming to Christ in his dorm. This was a defining moment of faith for the believers on that campus.
It’s important for students to realize that the lowest hanging fruit for evangelism is in the first few weeks of the school year before the freshmen are connected to new peer groups. Everyone is meeting and greeting, so it is easy to invite freshmen to ministry barbecues, frisbee, Bible studies, or Large Group meetings. Christian students finding good mentors, study partners, and friends from their ministry can lead to incredible growth in their spiritual maturity, which is vital during that first year of college.
Summer 2015 Challenge
Churches and schools use the same online resources that Chelsea used to educate parents and students, and to connect them to college ministries during their high school junior or senior year. Those who have done this prevent their students from being a part of that 70% who fall away from their faith. To learn more and to utilize these resources go to www.CampusRenewal.org/campusministrylink/
This year’s wave of new freshmen land on campuses in mid to late August. We can double the amount of successful transitions of students in every church who hears this message, and spark awakenings on campuses nationally! Please pass this article to your pastors and friends.
John Decker is the Director of the www.BelieversCollegePrep.com division of College Assistance Plus. During his 27 year career in business development at Lockheed Martin and Philips, he planted an InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapter at Syracuse University, where he saw the importance of the first weeks of college as in this InterVarsity article. This led him to become the Northeast Director of Youth Transition Network and onto his current position.