This is the time of year for college students to return to campus or to attend for the first time. It seems to be a good time to talk about this transition from a faith perspective. According to James Fowler’s stages of faith development, this is likely the age when young adults begin looking critically at the beliefs they have taken for granted in their younger years. They begin to take authority for their own beliefs. For this reason Sharon Daloz Parks in her book Big Questions, Worthy Dreams advocates for faith mentors to walk alongside emerging adults as they make this journey of reflecting on and wrestling with their faith.
For churches this is a time of sending their youth off around the country, sometimes with commissioning, sometimes with care packages, but neither they nor the family is there to walk alongside students as they grapple with all the new ideas and people that higher education may bring. Enter campus ministries–those hardworking folks who do this important work of partnering with young people on their faith journey. Many denominations have vibrant campus ministry organizations. Below you will find some of their websites. Most of these allow you to search for campus ministries at various colleges where your young adults may be attending. Some have additional resources as noted below that may help churches to work with college students in their own communities. The important thing is connecting between church, family, and campus ministry. Have you alerted the campus ministries where your young adults attend or are headed? It helps to know that someone is there to have a conversation or simply listen. Thanks to all who serve in this way during this critical time in the life of our youth and young adults.
Campus Ministry Organizations — Do you know of others?
Young Adult/Campus Ministry of the Episcopal Church – Contains some short videos that may be helpful to churches
UKirk- PC(USA) Campus Ministries– Contains a free downloadable worship guide for this age with lectionary helps
National Campus Ministry Association– Ecumenical group
Kathy Dawson, Associate Professor of Christian Education, Columbia Theological Seminary