Local Church: Connecting with a School Near You
ACF sat down with a local church pastor whose churches are committed to reaching out to nearby college students. Based on the pastor’s findings, we’ve compiled these tips to help your local church better connect with its schools.
Find the Adventist Students
It’s a good idea to connect to the campus with/via the students you already know there.
If you haven’t already found Adventist students on the campus.
Ask your local church if they know of any
Ask the school if they have a list of those who have self-identified as Adventist and if you can have that list
Once you find the students, begin building community with them.
Invite them over for Sabbath dinner or to your church potluck
Invite them over for a game night
Celebrate their birthdays
Check on them during exam time
Send them care packages
Ask the students what the needs of their campus are and how your church can best meet them.
Specific prayer requests
Joining a fundraiser for a community charity (Tim Kerin Fund Drive at UT)
Helping with a student’s tuition
Providing food for a student family that’s struggling to make ends meet
Encourage the students to create a formal ACF chapter on their campus.
See ACF-GCC brochure or website for more on starting a chapter
If You Can’t Find the Adventist Students…
(It may be hard to find them so here’s what you can do.)
Find out if there are other religious entities on the campus.
If there are, call them up and/or visit them and ask what sorts of things they do for the students. (They are typically very willing to share their ministry ideas especially since many recognize that each religious entity is mostly reaching its own students—they won’t be threatened by your ministry.)
See if they are part of a larger campus ministry organization such as a “Campus Ministers Council,” an entity that connects all of the campus ministers.
This organization can give you much more information about how the campus relates to religious organizations.
Get in touch with the school’s “Student Life” department. It may be called “Office of Dean of Students,” “Student Affairs,” or something else. It’s typically the department that is over student organizations.
Ask Student Life what its policies are for outside entities connecting with the students.
Be prepared to share ideas of how you’d like to connect:
Monthly meals to students (served on campus)
A weekly ESL program at your church
Developing a worthy student fund
Weekend childcare for students who are single parents
Know the gifts of your church members and use those to brainstorm ideas for connecting with the campus.
See if you’re at least allowed to post flyers for upcoming events.
Remember to begin and end with prayers of faith.
Believe that God will help you do your part.