FCEMF – please refer students going to college
Please consider sending me names of students who are heading off to college this fall (even if they are returning students). We have InterVarsity chapters at Lawrence University and the Fox Valley Technical College, and we would like to connect with your students to help them feel welcomed at college and provide some opportunities for Christian community, spiritual growth, and mission to the campus. Please include some contact information if possible (email and phone number).
If you have students going to other colleges outside of Appleton, I would be happy to look up campus chapters and forward the information on to my counterparts at other schools. IV pretty much has the entire state covered (as well as much of the country and partner movements in some 154 other countries). We do not have a group at the UW-Fox Valley, but our sister organization Campus Crusade does, and I will forward information to the faculty adviser Professor Mike.
Entering a secular college can be tough for Christian students. Every year I see many, and I know some things that make the transition better.
Christian students can not only thrive at college but can be influential for Jesus while they are there, as well as gaining leadership skills that will be beneficial at church and other ministries after they graduate. Attending church while they are at college is an important part of this time of life. Please consider being proactive as a church in helping your students transition. There are many simple things that you can do. Give them tips on finding a church home in a new city, or advice on making new Christian friends. Consider having a special prayer time at church to bless and commission them before they leave, stay in touch, etc.
We all know our kids at church are at various places in their relationship with Christ, their maturity, their level of personal initiative and interest. Every year I have some students who show up ready to be missionaries. Some are terrified. Some just come to our meeting out of a church-going habit, and others are looking for an opportunity to leave church behind. Some have no intention of checking out Jesus, but get dragged to a meeting by a roommate who is too nervous to go by herself. No matter where they are, relationships with other Christian students are key. They help welcome and share with the clueless, support the committed, challenge the nominal: students influence each other to take faith in Jesus Christ seriously. I recently watched the popular movie, God’s Not Dead. It was a little over the top, but I thought it was a wonderful and true to life portrayal of how committed, courageous, and effective a student can actually be. My (minor) criticism of the film is that the hero "goes it alone." More realistic, I my experience, is that students bear fruit for the kingdom of God in community with one another and with older Christian mentors.
A little background…
InterVarsity is an evangelical student movement and campus parachurch ministry on colleges and universities (lots of info. at www.intervarsity.org). Most campus chapters function as officially recognized student organizations at their respective campuses. We have had a group at Lawrence since 1959, and re-started a group at FVTC a couple years ago. The Lawrence Christian Fellowship (LCF) has 40-some students, a weekly meeting, a bunch of student-led Bible studies, and other opportunities. The FVTC IV chapter has an English and a Spanish Bible study. Besides me (Tim Webster, InterVarsity staff and Lawrence alum), we have Lyndsey Kirk (who works for another campus ministry called His House, but partners with me serving LCF), a number of involved Christian faculty and staff, and local volunteers. I became a Christian while a student at Lawrence in the 80s under the influence of InterVarsity students and mentoring of some Christian faculty, which goes a long way towards explaining my motivation for campus ministry.