The following method is an ideal way of providing the three C’s for a successful campus ministry.First, a student needs to be introduced to the local church.
The student should become an integral part of that church’s worship and fellowship experience from the very start of their college or university years, being discipled and empowered for gospel mission and service.
Second, local churches need to provide a community of mentors. Someone from the local church should “adopt” the student as part of a homelike experience, becoming the student’s mentor and spiritual adviser. This new sense of community fills the void created when the student left home in order to attend school.
Third, there must be an Adventist youth ministry presence on campus. For example, an Adventist chaplain or local church pastor or Adventist campus ministry mentor can initiate contact and serve in the role of spiritual care provider for the university students. This person will need to engage in setting up occasions and opportunities on campus where the students can go and find an environment of intentional mentorship and nurturing away from their home and home church.
A Story of the Three C’s
A local church pastor in Canada received a phone call from a young woman who was a student in the Bahamas. Jane (a pseudonym) stated that she had been accepted at a nearby Canadian university and was looking for a local church she could attend after she arrived. She had found the church contact information from the church website, and after arrival in Canada, attended the church on the first Sabbath. She was introduced to the church family, and all church members were encouraged to especially care for her.
Ann (a pseudonym), a senior member of the church who had recently been widowed and was well known for her philanthropic work in the community, not only made an extra effort to warmly welcome Ann, but also offered to give her a ride to church every Sabbath morning. Soon Ann and Jane became close friends, and Jane was very thankful for the kindness of this gentle and caring woman. From that point on, Ann became to Jane a family away from home. Every Sabbath they came to church together in time for Sabbath School. Whenever Jane got sick, the church knew about it because of Ann’s involvement in Jane’ life—caring for her and letting the church know how they could help. In fact, one time when Jane was under some financial difficulties, it was Ann who informed the congregation, which led to church assistance. Jane also became involved in the local church by participating in Bible study groups with church members and even served as a teacher for the Junior division. Even though this church wasn’t her home church, she became an integral part of it.
Jane had found a church that was willing to welcome her, allowed her to feel at home, and made a conscious effort to extend love and care to her even though she was a newcomer. This church provided her with a homelike environment. After her introduction to the church, the congregation began working toward providing a ministry presence at the university for the Adventist students. Soon Jane played a major role in setting up and arranging an Adventist students’ club on campus, in partnership with the local church pastor. Every Friday afternoon the local church pastor went to the university campus student center to conduct Bible studies and group fellowship meetings. Students from the neighboring university also joined the club. They named it “The Blue Rock Christian Fellowship” and invited other students to join.
After four years of successful university life both spiritually and academically, Jane graduated from the university, still actively participating in the church. This success story demonstrates how to apply the three C’smodel of a tripod campus ministry to ensure that no university students are lost while away from home and their home church.
Steps to Ensure a Successful Campus Ministry
To ensure a successful campus ministry and to ensure the spiritual growth of students during their university years, these conditions should be met.
Proactive Student on Campus: The student must be self-motivated in diligently seeking or creating an environment that will be conducive for their faith journey. Students often lack spiritual resources such as parental guidance, spiritual mentorship from adults (including youth ministry professionals), faith experience opportunities, etc. In addition, the overwhelming influences available from the Internet, media, and their peers challenge university students to maintain a spiritual focus. To counter this, university students need to be self-willed and self-motivated in creating for themselves an environment in which they can grow spiritually.
Spiritual Mentor in the Church, in the Community, and/or on Campus: A spiritual mentor should be someone who has a committed love for God and His work, and who is willing to care for students by providing attention, interest, and affection. This person will help students process their beliefs and explore how to continue to live their Christian lifestyle. A spiritual mentor can be a pastor, an elder, a church leader, a church officer, or another spirit-filled church member.
Spiritual Community on Campus: This describes an environment in which students can worship and fellowship with others who share common goals and objectives in life. This environment could be found in the local campus chapter or in the local church.
Missional Church/Congregation: Students need encouragement and care, but they are also in desperate need of challenge for mission and service.