Testimonies by local university students, in this month's church newsletter, make me praise God for using us in ministering to the college campus. College students are worth the time and effort of ministry, but I know from experience that they can be hard to love. I have been a student involved in campus ministry, a staff member and volunteer in several ministries to college students and a supervisor of student interns at a university.
Young adults can be immature, self absorbed and unreliable. Many of us look back to see the same traits in our own lives. And yet, we were loved by God and the church into a greater maturity. In the spirit of Philippians 4:8, here are some commendable things about college students that I see. May the list encourage you to invest in campus ministry. (If you are a Christian student who is reading this blog, it's what I like about you.)
Zest for life. Students have energy, enthusiasm and high ideals. They are willing to help with ministry projects and want to make a difference.
A love of learning. They are serious about what they learn and try to apply it to their lives. Christian students spend time thinking about how biblical truth speaks to their situation.
Respect for elders. At the university where I work, I frequently see a smiling student who is opening a door for me, and I hear many students saying "please" and "thank you."
Openness. Students want to share their thoughts, feelings and questions to gain spiritual wisdom from older advisers. They love talking about the latest cultural trends, which helps the advisor keep a younger outlook.
Focus. Most students are past the teenager's preoccupations, such as concentrating on trivial things. By the time they get to college, students are ready for weightier matters.
Heartfelt Gratitude. Students appreciate home cooked food and a substitute "mom" to encourage them. Some of them will eat almost anything, which, in turn, encourages the "mom."
Discernment. Society gives a false promise that you have the ability and power to be what whatever you want to be. Students see through that. On a lighter note, most of them are not gaga over Lady Gaga. This is a good thing.
I like college students. When they trust Christ day-by-day, God is pleased with them, too. Investing in a college student's spiritual well being today has a lasting effect for the future of the kingdom.