They're Back...to School!
I have to hand it to any group of people who have the vision to plant their church within the geographical proximity of a major college campus. The transient nature of the fellowship makes for some on-the-spot community, but every four years it has to begin the process anew. Throw in the potential hostility of academia and the “sowed oats” of students, and it can be a real challenge to grow a church. The Evangelical Community Church of Bloomington has been able to do just that, however, and I’ve enjoyed the privilege to not only visit this great church but also speak with their assembly of college students as they gathered for their weekly worship time. Staring out at a mass of 20-somethings is an intimidating thing for me. There is a war that goes on inside of me every time I do it—“Be authentic, but be cool.” “No, just give them Jesus.”
As I visit churches near schools outside of our area, I am most proud and encouraged by the presence of former CFC youth that I see there. It often gets more personal for me than just speaking to a mass gathering. I recently corresponded with a young man about his plan to join a Christian community on campus as well as a local church. Doing so by the first two weeks of moving in is a strong strategy for maintaining his walk with Christ for the next four years. Whether these young men and women participate with the worship team or are simply relational connections to other members of the body, I’m always excited to come back and encourage Nathan and our Student Ministry team of my findings.
To hear of our adult children attending and serving in a local church—while they’re in college—should give us all a welcome dose of hope that the future of church leadership is still being developed. In Third John, verse 4, the scriptures put God’s approval on our joy: “I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.”
I am also very grateful for the young men and women who attend our local universities and colleges. Many of these former students are now involved in campus ministries, other local churches, and some are still involved here. I am excited to see these young church leaders continue to grow as disciples while they are making disciples here and around the world. Please pray with me for this critical transition as our children move through the stages of development. Be they in the beginnings of CFC Kids, Middle School, or High School, our desire as elders and church leaders is to equip the youth of our fellowship to follow and serve Christ. And don’t forget the nursery!!! We are blessed with so many babies that I might actually get to hold one while I’m preaching!!