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Does Your Church Have What It Takes to Reach College Students? Part 2

Here are some continuing thoughts on how to effectively reach college students in our churches. Part 1 is here.

4. Remember that we live in the Bono generation:

Serving the community and the poor around the world is now, for lack of better terms, “cool”. And while “Tom’s shoes” certainly has a different agenda than does the church, this generation’s awareness of global suffering ensures that any message that fails to address global and societal needs will fall on deaf ears. The awareness of global suffering actually provides a wonderful opportunity for the gospel. We can show the gospel provides a better, more holistic answer to the problems of the world.

Our church has identified 5 areas (the homeless; the orphan; the prisoner; the unwed mother; and the high school dropout) that we plug students into. We use these as opportunities not only to win our community, but also to disciple students. Opportunities to serve the poor becomes some of our best opportunities for the evangelizing of lost students. Many students will serve alongside us in projects directed toward these groups even when they won’t come to our church services.

5. Lift their eyes to the nations:

God’s agenda for the world is nothing short of people from every people group worshipping Jesus (Rev. 5:9-11). We should teach students to choose their life’s path based on this end-goal. Even those students who do not go into “full time ministry” can choose their career path in light of the Great Commission. They have to get a job upon graduation somewhere, so why not do it in a place where they can be a part of church planting? We teach our students that unless God has put a better plan in front of them, they should plan to spend 2 years in one of the places we have a church plant (both domestic and abroad).

6. Aggressively develop summer projects and overseas opportunities:

Summer projects and mission trips are great “farm teams” for training students in mission. We have seen tremendous returns from students who served on one of these projects. Currently, we have projects each summer in our city; in places we have church plants domestically; and overseas.

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J.D. Greear, Ph.D., is the President of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastors the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Tagged by Outreach magazine as one of the fastest growing churches in America, the Summit has grown in the past 8 years from 400 to over 5,000 each weekend. The Summit Church is deeply involved in global church planting, having undertaken the mission to plant 1000 churches in the next 40 years. J.D. has authored Breaking the Islam Code and the upcoming Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.