“For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:9-10, HCSB)
For the past two months, we’ve gathered and collected information on incoming students (freshmen and transfers) from anywhere we can. In addition to the help of many wonderful churches and camps, we are fortunate and thankful that our school allows us access to their “religious preference list.”
And so, for the better part of the summer, we meet, email, Facebook, tweet, snail-mail, text message, call and pray for these new students. With more then 2,500 names on the list, it can be a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, we’ve got great student leaders assisting in much of this effort.
According to my mother, it takes three weeks to form a habit. I’ve found it takes even less in college. College is the busiest free time you’ll ever have and it’s gone in a flash. With more and more students questioning and even abandoning their faith, we work very hard to get on their radar and calendar as much as possible right at the beginning.
We and many other schools and campus organizations load the first days with as much as possible. We call ours the “10 Days of Insanity” – 10 Events in 10 Days. My favorite events open and close the days. While most of the students attending “Survival” will be Christian, just two years ago a young man running from the Lord ended up in attendance. He connected with Christian students and a local church staff member at the event. A couple of short months later, he gave his life to Christ, was baptized, and is now pursuing God’s call to ministry!
The “Church Road Trip” wraps up the events. This allows collegians to experience four different churches in one evening (it’s a progressive dinner with more food than anyone needsJ). More than once, we’ve seen students find their college church home on this trip. Recently, a local church minister with a growing collegiate ministry shared they could trace their ministry back to a single student plugging in from the road trip.
As we kick-off another year, pray for more stories of lives changed and ministries begun. Pray that we (staff and students) will have endurance. Pray that we will see our campuses as the mission fields they are. Pray that we will walk worthy as we strive to honor God by sharing His story through ours. And pray that under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, we will see fruit.
Campus Minister, The University of Alabama