Campus Ministers, Don’t Just Win Students to Christ. Win Them to the Church, Too.
In my campus ministry years, I’ve noticed many students give their lives to Christ. However, some of them would only be seen attending the campus gatherings, but not the worship services in a local church. In effect, they aren’t really part of a local church. (Some of you are clever. You could say to me, “The campus ministry is also the church—the body of Christ in the campus. But we do know there’s actually a big difference between the campus ministry and the local church).
I saw students won to Christ, and also won to the church. But I also saw students not won over to the church. In fact, I experiences inviting a student, who was part of the campus gatherings, to attend my church, but it was to no avail.
So what can campus ministers, leaders, or volunteers do? Here are some suggestions:
1. Invite students prayerfully and persistently. We can begin inviting them to attend a church worship service, and to be a part of a local body. Sometimes, we even have to be clever, like treat them for lunch or coffee so that they would go.
I say that we must invite prayerfully, because apart from Jesus, we can do nothing (John 15:4). And I say persistently, because most of the times, we just need an extra push to win them to the church. I believe I lacked in persistence when I once invited the students I talked about a while ago.
2. Teach them that Jesus loves the church. It will be helpful to study what the Bible says in regard to Jesus’ love for the church. In his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul instructed the husbands to love their wives. And how will they do that? “As Christ loved the church” (5:25).
Husbands are to love their wives the same way Jesus loves the church. Jesus loves the church! He even “gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (vv.25-27). No loving husband would want her wife to be unholy. So Jesus wouldn’t want her Bride, the church, to be unholy, for He loves her.
With these verses in mind, along with other passages that show Christ’s love for the church, students who love Jesus must also love the church. And being a part of a local church is a great way to show this love in action.
3. Share them your experience with the church. I assume you have a good experience with your church. Otherwise, you yourself wouldn’t be convinced of the importance o being a part of a local church, and you wouldn’t invite students consequently. You may share with them the practical benefits, such as accountability, support, and opportunities to serve others.