Churches today realize they need to be reaching young adults in their community. A vision of winning and sending young adults out as disciplemakers is paramount for the church.
In order to execute fruitful discipleship, churches must be willing to develop flexible strategies that consider the lifestyle of a college student. Assumptions are often made about college students that can hinder effective discipleship. Below are two assumptions about college students that guarantee fruitless discipleship efforts.
Students know and live the basics of the faith. Thousands of people varying in age, gender, ethnicity, religion and upbringing exist on a single college campus. If a church desires to engage in fruitful discipleship, it cannot afford to assume that any student understands the gospel or knows how to live the Christian life.
Every college minister must know the spiritual climate of his or her students and be willing to adjust any and all efforts to better meet the needs of students where they are. Making these adjustments requires more time and effort than assuming discipleship is happening under the current efforts. However, in the end, these adjustments will produce more fruit.
Students are available for your idea of discipleship. Discipleship plans made without understanding the life and schedule of a college student are bound to be fruitless. Most students arrive at college under considerable pressure from their parents.
Much of their schedule is determined by their parents, classes and other commitments that might help advance them professionally.
Most students feel exhausted by all that is scheduled for them, so they find little desire to schedule much themselves; herein lies both a problem and a solution.
Churches should not assume that students will partake in all discipleship matters that may be good for them. Most students won’t fit nicely into a discipleship strategy; however, a church that can coach students to manage their lives and schedules well opens the door to discipleship.
Since young adults often have poorly developed faith foundations, aren’t effectively living out what they do understand and are busy and overwhelmed, we must have a fresh understanding of disciple-making.
Fruitful young adult discipleship contains structure in the vision but flexibility in the execution. Most students can’t (or won’t) meet for coffee every week at 6 a.m. But they will call at 8 p.m. to ask a question regarding something they’ve read in Scripture or a conversation they’ve had with a friend.
Students may go home two weekends out of the month, but they will want to talk through the dissension in their family first thing Monday morning. These are instances that can either result in disappointment or discipleship.
Students will forget, slack-off and even fail. But if they do all these things in the context of a church that understands them, discipleship can truly be fruitful. B&R