In just a few short weeks, the college students in your church will be leaving for school. Although they won’t be with you every Sunday for the next ten months, they’ll remain part of your church family. While away, they may experience both challenges and growth in their Christian beliefs. Remind them that you care—and more importantly, God cares—about their faith.
Need a few ideas for encouraging these young Christians? Here are eight ways your church can support college students.
- Connect each student with a prayer partner. Invite individual church members, couples, or families to commit to pray for a college student. Throughout the year, these partners can send notes of encouragement, text weekly Bible verses, and ask for prayer requests from the students.
- Send care packages. Designate the first Sunday of every month to be “Care Package Sunday.” Ask for monetary donations, gift cards, devotion books, candy, magazines, school supplies, and other fun items to use in making care packages for your college students. Send care packages at various times throughout the year, especially during finals and the winter holidays.
- Provide information about local churches. Before students leave, ask for their college address. Do a little research to find addresses and phone numbers of nearby churches in their area. If you have any ministry friends in that area, ask them to reach out and make a personal invitation to the students.
- Pray for them. Before students leave for the school year, have a family BBQ. Invite college students, their families, and their prayer partners. After the meal, take time to pray for them as a group and individually. Have them make lists of specific prayer requests (these could be anonymous) and continue praying throughout the year.
- Provide a Bible reference guide. Find a good list of Bible verses that address specific needs. (For example: If you are afraid, look up John 14:27. If you are feeling anxious, look up Psalm 62:1–2.) Put this list on a bookmark or note card and give it to each college student.
- Offer a money management course. For some students, going to college means that they’ll be controlling their finances for the very first time. Teach students the basics of setting up a budget, understanding credit cards, and balancing a checking account. Also, provide a list of spending dangers and simple ways to save money.
- Get them involved. For the college students who are staying in the area, offer a Bible study that relates to them. Don’t be afraid to ask for their help with things like worship music, technology, and Sunday school.
- Take time to listen. Ask the college students who have been away a year or two what would be helpful to them. What is something your church can do to ease the transition, build up their faith, and help them stay connected to the body of Christ?
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