By Diana Davis & Rose Bear
Our future Christian leaders need your church’s encouragement and care! Need
fresh ideas for uplifting college students? Here are some ways to strengthen
relationships with our future leaders at the beginning of summer and as the new
school year begins:
Adopt a Student. Is your church in a college town?
Encourage church families to “adopt” a student at the beginning of each school
year to help them learn the town. Families can invite them for meals or
holidays, encourage their Christian walk or even let them do laundry at their
Welcome day. Plan a fabulous fellowship event in early fall
for college students. Serve comfort food and register students for your
church’s Adopt-a-Student program. Provide a quality college Sunday School
They’re adults. Include them in church golf tournaments,
ladies’ retreats or mission projects. Let students use their unique gifts by
involving them on church committees, music or drama groups, special projects
and technical teams. Get them involved in activities that will excite and grow
Learn their names. There are few things more endearing than
hearing someone say your name respectfully when addressing you. If you know and
use the names of your college students, you’re showing them an immense amount
of respect and they in turn will respect your ability to appreciate and honor
them. Names are powerful ministry tools.
International students. God has brought the world to us!
Plug into the Baptist Campus Ministries conversational English group, the
university’s international friendship family program or another activity to
impact international students’ lives for Christ. My friend invites
international students to her home for fun holiday celebrations, sharing Jesus
with them as they bake Christmas cookies or hunt Easter eggs.
Head start. Before your freshmen leave for college, give
their contact info to the Baptist Collegiate Minister (www.student.org) at the school they’ll be
attending. Many BCM’s will write, pray, contact personally or post welcome
signs on their dorm doors. Connecting with the BCM will help your students find
Christian friends and encourage their involvement in a local church.
Mail matters. Mail from a student’s Christian friends or
home church is a great reminder of God’s love. Send a church bulletin, local
news clipping, sermon CD or prayer note. Email a weekly Scripture or devotion.
During finals week, mail a care package of popcorn, tea bags, coffee and
colored pens. One church group sent $5 gift cards from fast food restaurants.
Mail a series of countdown postcards about church events during holidays. You
can even place an address label directly on a Crackerjacks™ box! Mail homemade
cookies in a Pringles™ can with a slice of bread to keep them fresh. And
remember to pray for them while you pack.
Meet for coffee. If business takes you near campus, meet a
student for a soft drink or coffee. They’ll welcome a visit from their pastor,
youth leader or friend…especially if you buy them lunch!
Student Night at Christmas. It’s an age-old tradition worth
repeating. One Sunday evening after Christmas, have college students from your
church share testimonies of what God’s doing in their lives.
Most important, keep college students on your church’s prayer list. Encourage
our next generation of Christian leaders. Begin this week!
Diana Davis is wife of Indiana Baptists’ Executive Director, Stephen
Davis, and author of Fresh Ideas (B&H Publishing, June 2007). Rose Bear has
served more than 20 years with her husband, Roger, in the Baptist Collegiate
Ministry at Indiana State University.
The falling leaves may be drifting by the window, but don’t let the season
drift by without taking advantage of the many opportunities to involve your
kids in ministry and outreach. Here are a few ideas:
Pumpkin carving party. Coordinate with other parents in
your church to provide supplies, then invite families in your neighborhood to a
pumpkin carving party at your house. Have a cookout, a carving contest and
maybe a marshmallow roast after. Pass out party favors for kids and parents and
include some church information, a nice handwritten note of thanks and a candle
for their jack-o-lantern.
Leaf rake party. Adopt a family—for example, a single
mother, elderly couple, couple with a new born— in your neighborhood who needs
some yard work done and arrange a work day. Involve the kids. Break out the
rakes and blowers and give the kids their own responsibilities explaining why
you’re doing this work. “We want to share the love of Christ with this family.”
Show them by example how to share the gospel.
Leaves of Thanksgiving. This fall instead of bagging all
the leaves covering the yard, save the pretty ones and start a family project.
Have each family member take three leaves and write something they’re thankful
for on each. Collect them in a basket. In the days leading up to and during
Thanksgiving and Christmas, have a family member read a leaf and lead in
prayer. You might keep this basket year-round as a reminder of God’s goodness
and a conversation piece for guests.
By Mark Littleton
Here are a few simple reminders and a couple of new ideas that’ll give you
more chances to share your faith.
Plant a seed, let it grow. A seed is a simple thought, a
short statement, a dropped hint. It might be a line that can lead to more
Look for obvious openings in a conversation or situation.
Sometimes people open a door that a semi truck could barrel through, but we
Christians don’t catch it.
Keep a tract handy. A preacher once told me, if you don’t
have a tract with you, you’re not fully dressed. While I haven’t always been
prepared since then, I find that tracts can be handy. There are many ways to
use them, but often the direct way is best. Would you be willing to take a look
at a little pamphlet about something that changed my life? Or, here’s something
that has really helped me.
Would you like one?
Find their interests. People like to talk about what’s
meaningful and interesting to them. Learning about other’s interests shows
you’re interested in him or her as a person.
Be a joiner. Many people get involved in groups from the
garden club to the local artists group to book discussions at the library. If
you have an interest, join a secular group. Meet the people in it, make some
friends and use these discussion opportunities to strike up conversations about
Give gifts that edify. If you’re aware that a fellow
worker, friend in the neighborhood or other acquaintance has gone through some
trouble, why not buy a book that’ll lift them up and show them you care.
Use special occasions. When someone retires, gets a
promotion, has a baby, suffers a loss or has another important life experience,
it’s a good time to give that person a special word or a gift.
Mark Littleton is a writer, speaker and author living in Gladstone,
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC