One thing that I noticed at my church (in regards to how the church reaches out to the college-aged students) was the fact that the college students where the ones that started the conversation for the need of there being something for us. For a long time there was never a need for that conversation to happen since most college kids went to Adventist colleges but that has been changing. At first we had to do a lot of the work ourselves, creating our own program to fit our needs, we created a suport system for ourselves. The church realized that we were being serious and wanted to learn more. Once we had that communication started we now have so much support from the church. My church is in a college town (3 colleges/universities) and we are still working on keeping and reaching out to more SDA students that either don’t know there is a church here, or do know and just don’t want to know, and we are reaching those who need to be reached.
Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world” and that is no different when it comes to church. Start talking to the pastor, elders, anyone in the church and let them know that they shouldn’t forget the college students who are around them.
Hope this helps :)
Anonymous said: I really like y'alls website; it made my day! I have a question for you guys: There are little to no young adults at my church, and no programs or ministries for them. As a college-aged student myself, I would like to know if young adults still attend your church, and how the church reaches out to them. Once most people go to college at my church, they stop coming to church as much.
I’ve really been thinking over your question because it’s a little hard for me to answer. You see, since I go to an Adventist college, all the churches are jam-packed with young people. It’s great to be a part of, honestly, but I feel like I have lost touch a bit with college age youth in normal home churches. My home church has lost most of its youth as well once they went off to college, for several reasons. Some became tired of the service and wanted something more lively, some were disillusioned by the members, etc. But I talked to two people who were a part of thriving young adult groups while in secular colleges, usually the churches around the colleges themselves.
One of the people I asked mentioned that around the time school is starting, they hang flyers around the campus, letting them know that there is, in fact, an active SDA church nearby and that they are willing to provide transportation. What more, they have formed a campus club called connected2christ, which is open to anyone who wishes to come. The pastor also shows up to the weekly meetings.
For my other contact, he stated that there is a program at his college by Adventists especially to network the Adventist students together. Usually college students that go to the local church would be reaching out to the other college students on campus as a friend/mentor kinda thing. They have Bible studies, go to church programs, etc.
As for actual programs inside the church? They seem pretty basic. The young adults often have a worship/vespers that they run by themselves, with some input from other church members. They sometimes lead out church services. They have potluck, “rap” sessions, and camping together. Most of these are fully organized by them.
So, I don’t really know how this would translate to home churches that are not near campuses. But I think the main thing is making the young adults feel like they’re actually wanted and valued, taken seriously and not undermined. Letting them expand a bit and work with their talents. I think that’s also why the church services at my college thrive as well; because they have an input and feel like they belong there. Also, reaching out to people and not letting them go. I feel like churches are not really too supportive when it comes to fellowship; once you get the seat in the pew and the name on the members’ list, that’s it. Honestly, that shouldn’t be the case. This is what I think could possibly help bring young adults, and youth in general, back in the church.
Hope this helps!
Anonymous said: I'm a college freshman and it's the first time that I haven't been able to go to church every Sabbath because there are no churches around. It's been getting harder for me being here because my friends don't really understand what being an Adventist is and they don't understand why I don't do certain things on the Sabbath. As much as I can explain, they won't ever really know. Do you have any advice on how to keep my faith intact while at school? Thanks for listening :)
Hello Anon! Sorry for the wait.
My first suggestion for you would be to keep the communication line with God open. Keep reading the Bible and talking with Him. He’ll keep you going.
Secondly, try to stay a part of the community of faith. Since there is no church near by, it would be cool if you can find a club on campus of Adventists. If not, then a message board or group on the internet could be helpful. They could also help you find Adventists in your area. But if you can’t make it to church, it’s okay. The Bible does say not to forsake the assembly of believers (Hebrews 10:25) which is one the reasons why I mentioned connecting with other Adventists (other than fellowship and etc), but it’s not the only way to keep the Sabbath, especially if you don’t have a way to go to church. Which leads me into another point:
Keep keeping the Sabbath. You may be a bit used to just going to church and participating in the programs and having fellowship, but keep in mind that the Sabbath was also made as a day of rest and a day of communion with the Lord. You may want to pray and meditate on what that means for you and ways you can continue to keep the Sabbath.
As for your friends, it’s understandable that they don’t understand just now. Since our practices are considered so uncommon in modern times, they could have a hard time grasping it. But it is a possibility that one say something you say may resonate with them. That being said, along with being connected to God and connected to other brethren, don’t be afraid to live your faith. But with that, also connect to the people who may not share the same faith as you, and respect them. As you live what you believe, it will ultimately start to lead them to accepting your lifestyle. It may lead to more questions, yes, but explain as best as you can and ask God for guidance. Who knows? Maybe you were placed there for such a time as this.
Blessings with your situation and with college. We’re praying for you!