Going beyond skinny jeans, smoke machines and free hotdogs to reach college students

N.C. BAPTIST PODCAST
May 20, 2020

Reaching college students can seem like a daunting task.

Many churches interested in college ministry can feel overwhelmed at the thought of reaching an entire campus. Or they think they have to create a special worship experience with skinny jeans, smoke machines and free hot dogs to attract college students.

What if someone told churches they didn’t have to feel the pressure of reaching an entire campus, but could instead focus on smaller groups of students?

And that a key to reaching college students involved mobilizing church members who already have natural connections with students on campus instead of creating events that may or may not attract them due to changing dynamics of campus life?

Evan Blackerby and Tom Knight, senior consultants for the Collegiate Partnerships Team of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, addressed these and other topics on an episode of the “No Campus Left” podcast.

Rather than looking at the entire campus, Blackerby and Knight said churches should instead focus on reaching a specific “population cluster,” which is a particular group of students who are connected by common interests like a course of study or activity. Think nursing students, athletes or the drama department.

“There are multiple ways to be involved on the campus,” Knight said. “For me, what really clicked was helping people understand they don’t have to reach the whole campus.”

By thinking and praying through all the different dynamics of reaching college students, the Collegiate Partnerships team developed a resource to help churches engage students, whether they attend large universities, small private colleges or community colleges.

That resource — “Pathways for Collegiate Engagement” or “Pathways” for short — is a tool that defines and describes a six-step process for churches to work through to engage college students near them.

“Your church can reach somebody,” Blackerby said. “That’s the idea with ‘Pathways.’”

By using the “Pathways” tool, churches can discover that by focusing on the few, they can reach the many.

Check out the “Pathways” resource, and listen to the podcast, where you’ll learn more about:

  • Why churches shouldn’t feel pressure to reach an entire campus.
  • Why you don’t have to attract college students to your church in order to be engaged in campus ministry.
  • The changing dynamics of higher education and the implications of ministering to college students.
  • How to think about segments of a campus population that are manageable for your church to reach.
  • Identifying people in your church who already are equipped to reach college students.
  • How to implement the six steps in the “Pathways” resource.

For more information on how the Collegiate Partnerships Team can assist your church in developing a strategy to reach college students near you, contact the team by email at [email protected] or phone at (800) 395-5102, ext. 5574.


by BSCNC Communications

Statement on the release of SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force report

Todd Unzicker, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, released the following statement today (Sunday, May 22, 2022) following the release of the SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force report.“Today’s release of the SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force report...

3 training options to offer worship ministry certification

Worship leaders can now pursue further equipping through three training options offered in partnership between N.C. Baptists, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Fruitland Baptist Bible College. The training provides worship leaders with the understanding and tools to...

Caraway celebrates 60 years of ministry and memories

North Carolina Baptists joined forces in July 1962 to cultivate a powerful new tool to help churches reach and disciple more people — Camp Caraway. Now, decades later, the camp continues to serve N.C. Baptists and will celebrate its 60th summer this July. Situated on more than...

How leaders can bridge generational gaps in Asian American churches

Many Asian American churches provide spaces for Asian immigrants to continue worshiping similarly to how they did in their home countries. They offer a familiar community and a home away from home. What can often be overlooked, however, is the cultural gap between immigrant...

On death and dying, as it relates to churches

In 1969, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist, wrote the classic book On Death and Dying. This work, chronicling lessons she learned with terminally ill patients, outlined the five stages that all people go through as they near death. Beginning when they are...

Stay connected by signing up for our monthly newsletter and events email.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!