The Importance of the Local Church in Campus Ministry
The church is the instrument that God has chosen and empowered to carry out His work on this earth. Christ said, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Christ is the head of the church. He promised to build His church.
The church is not the building but the people within that building. A church is a group of baptized believers who have voluntarily joined themselves together to carry out the Great Commission. The church is to be the pillar and ground of the truth to the world. Christ gave gifts to His church, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”
The church is equipped with evangelists, pastors, and teachers. It is the church that equips believers to fight in this battle and be true followers of Christ. It is the church that is to carry out God’s work here on earth in ministry. It is the church that keeps believers encouraged and built up in His work. It is the church that works in believer’s lives to bring a unity of faith, bring believers to the knowledge of the Son of God, and bring believers into the fulness of Christ in their lives. It is the church that Christ left the responsibility with to reach the world with the Gospel.
I want us to capture the principle that the church is what Christ founded, equipped, empowered, and promised to build! He never promised to build a “Campus Ministry”. The church is the vital lifeline to a christian’s life. It is absolutely essential to a college student’s life. It is vital to a youth ministry, a nursing home ministry, or a campus ministry.
A ministry to college students on your campus must be an outreach of a local church. It is not an organization in and of its self. The campus ministry must never exist to take the place of a local church in a student’s life. If this is the focus or case it should become its own church. An organization on campus separated from the ministry of a local church stands alone. What is it then? Is it a church? Is it a fellowship? Is it a group of Christians who meet and for what purpose and intent?
Christ has promised to build your campus ministry as it is an extension and ministry of your local church! The local church will pray, work, and govern the ministry. It is the goal of each campus ministry is to reach, teach, and connect students to a local church to be involved in. The local church is an important part of every christian’s life. This is God’s design for His work.
A student away from home and their church need a church while in school. They need a pastor, deacons, a Sunday School teacher, they need older women and younger women, older men and younger men, and they need young children. Students need to be equipped and built up. Students need other Christians they can form relationships with. Students need to stay encouraged. Students need areas and avenues to carry out ministry. This is all done through a local church in a person’s life. Students should not take a four year break just because a they are attending college. Actually, this is the most important time in their life. This is when these young people are formulating and working through so many areas of their lives. This is the time that will define much of their future. There is no greater time for 18-22 year olds to be engaged in church yet this is when 70% are dropping out. Satan is attacking at the prime time in their lives to grow and we must fight back!
Encourage your students to attend. Provide a Sunday School class to connect them to. Provide transportation for on-campus students. Of course we want all of our students from the campus ministry to attend our church. With such a diverse group of students from all different backgrounds that attend a campus ministry, don’t get discouraged because they all do not attend your church. Your church or my church is not for everyone. You may have some students from various denominational backgrounds. Do invite and encourage them to try your church but if they are not interested then encourage them to get into a church in town that fits. The church is absolutely essential to a college student. I would rather them attend a non-denominational church and be engaged there rather than not attending and fall away from the faith completely.
Let us pray and work together to break this 70% statistic that we have heard for years and see students connected to and engaged in a church. Let us see Christ use these energetic and talented students to build His church and impact the world!