A Guide for Connecting Congregations and Students
Most statistics suggest that a significant percentage of the students who come from a strong habit of church involvement at home will arrive on campus only never to darken the doorway of a church or collegiate ministry while attending college. From spiritual exploration to simple disinterest to participation exhaustion, the reasons for this disconnect are many. Regardless of the reasons, the outcome is the same: students and the church part ways.
In fact, many of the habits broken while in college will take years to restore, if restored at all. This reality diminishes us all. The effort to maintain this habit of connection is vital for the spiritual health of our students and the long-term health of our local congregations and The United Methodist Church.
But what are we to do? How can we prevent our students from leaving both their homes and their faith communities when they go to college? How might we stay connected to them and keep them connected to us? Here, we offer some suggestions from what is termed the “push/pull” technique. The student’s home congregation encouragingly “pushes” the student toward collegiate ministry, while the collegiate ministry gently “pulls” the student into a deeper relationship with Christ, the church, and other students of faith. These suggestions do not make for a foolproof plan. However, by implementing some or all of them, we better the chances when our students leave for college they will not leave their faith at home, too…