Unevangelized college students

By DANIEL AUSBUN, First Baptist Church, Moreland daniel@fbcmoreland.org There are 16 million college students in the United States, and they're one of the most significant unevangelized people groups in our country. These are our future leaders and entrepreneurs of our country, and they don't know Jesus. Today's students determine tomorrow's culture. The decisions most of us make between the ages 18-24 years will shape who we are, what we do and what we believe.
Statistics show 90 percent of high school graduates who attended church in the 12th grade will have dropped out by the time they graduate from college. We live in day of church dropouts, and it's occurring in your late teens and early twenties. In some countries that are closed to missionaries -- students from these countries will come study in America. This might be our only chance to present the Gospel to them. Many of these international students probably prepare themselves against Christian witnessing when they first arrive. They spend four years here, and not one person tells them about Jesus. There are three principles in reaching college students. First is changing our communication. If you don't text, Facebook, or tweet -- college students aren't listening. Don't bother with e-mail, snail mail or phone calls. My brother-in-law is a college minister, and Facebook is his primary form of communication. Once a young girl told me she only tweets and texts, otherwise don't bother trying to contact her. Every church, staff member and church leader working with college-age people must be current on the latest social networking. Churches can't be dinosaurs hoping the weekly bulletin is going to communicate to young adults. Relationships are the currency of your ministry. Second is participation. College students hear lectures and presentations all day at school. They want to attend church and be involved. Recreation, mission trips and service projects connect college students. Students are looking for their identity within a church -- do I belong here? Church leaders have a responsibility of always creating opportunities. Third is reasonable belief. College students at Georgia Tech could be taught by Muslim professors asserting the Qur'an came from God through the prophet Muhammad. Christians must be prepared to answer an erroneous statement (Colossians 4:6). College students are going off to school and coming home thinking all religions are the same -- I just happened to be born into a Christian family. Tolerance and universalism are rampant at universities. All religions cannot be true because they teach contradictory things -- and contradictions cannot all be true. If the Bible declares that Jesus died on the cross and rose bodily from the dead three days later (I Corinthians 15:1-6) and the Qur'an teaches he did not (Sura 4:157), both books cannot be true on such a crucial teaching. Christianity does not claim there is no truth in non-Christian religious books. It only claims that the Bible is true and whatever is contradictory to the Bible is false. There is much good and true in non-Christian religions. Buddhism is in harmony with Christianity in teaching that we should respect our parents and murder is wrong. Christian college students must be grounded in God's Word and not ignore its teachings. When you step onto a college campus, you should cling to the cross. There is an importance for standing up for Christ, even when it seems like you're the only one standing. Jesus often did things that were not popular, but it was the right thing to do. In the past, churches would expect that people who dropped out of church during their college-age days would come back once they were married with kids. The problem is they're not coming back. By changing our communication, providing opportunities to participate, and having an educated reasonable belief -- college students can graduate from school with a deeper commitment to Christ than when they first stepped on campus. We need a generation of students to become Christian leaders in our churches and in our country. Again, statistics show 99 percent of college students in New England are unchurched. Jesus would see that statistic and say, "Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest" (John 4:35).

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