So, why are you posting notes about a College Ministry session on a Children’s Ministry website?

  1. Technically my role is the Next Gen pastor and it’s my job to oversee College Ministry. This is why I did this pre-conference session. I put all my notes on the blog so it’s easy for me to find later. So, it’s kind of a convenience things for me.
  2. Just becasue it’s College Ministry doesn’t mean you can’t learn something from them. Will your kids in preschool eventually enter college? Do you have any college students serve in your ministry? So, it’s probably a good idea to know something about college ministry.

Like I said before, I’m going to oversee college ministry here at Gateway. I don’t have much experience in college ministry. I’ve been in ministry and I’ve been in college. Does that qualify me? Seriously, my knowledge of college ministry tripled at the Orange Conference. So, here we go:


This pre-conference was taught by Chuck Bomar. He’s amazing… the grand czar of college ministry. For a good portion of the pre-conference, I felt like I was in a sociology class looking into the way college students think. It was really detailed, but really good. I think I would have connected more if I was actually a College Pastor, but it was helpful. The final part of the final session was all application and it helped me tremendously.


This age stage really developed in the last 100 years.

In the late 1800’s, child labor laws are passed keeping kids from working and sending them ot schools. In 1910 and 1912 the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are formed since kids are not working. Older teens were still working though. However, during the Great Depression, teenagers were the first ones let go from jobs, so now there was a need for High Schools. In 1930, the first high school in New York opens. After depression, companies are hiring more educated people, so high school becomes a necessary step. In the 1970’s the church first recognizes high school students as a age group to focus on. In 1900, less that 10% of age group in college. Today the number is more than 65%.

Characteristics of this age (18-25)

  • Prolonged adolescent thinking/living
  • Delayed family life
  • Financial dependence

Many churches start a college service:

  • Rarely accomplishes what we think
  • Temporary solution
  • Overly focused on a church service
  • Inherently teaches disunity
  • Makes discipleship more difficult
  • Has teaching difficulty

Ultimately college age is a transition time much like moving from elementary to middle school. The purpose is to transition them from High School to Adult life. We want to protect our investment in these lives. Whether they have grown up in our church or came during college, we want them to fully integrate into our church.


Chuck spent a lot of time talking about philosophy. College students are in the identity formation phase of their life. They don’t need to be told who they are or who they need to be, but someone to walk with them and help them discover their identity.


You don’t need a David Crowder or Louie Gigleo to pull off a successful college ministry. You need seasoned adults (probably the age of the college studetn’s parents) who will form relationships with these students (intergenerational relationships). Again, the focus is assimilation. This happens through home gatherings, justice/service projects and occasional retreats. Ultimately, college ministry is not student ministry on stereroids.

My Take Away

My job description states that I will oversee our college ministry at some point. Up until this point, my only thoughts of college ministry was a college service. This meant finding a leader first. Someone who could teach and lead. With this thought, I knew that it would probably be another year before we attempted to start something like this.

However, this session turn my thoughts of College Ministry on it’s head. The idea of a ministry based on groups really fits with our church’s philosophy. If this is the case, we can probably launch a college ministry this fall. So, I’m encourage. I also work with college students in our Children’s Ministry. This information will also help me know how to best interact with them.