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Am I Too Old to Reach College Students?

Apr 4, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Am I Too Old to Reach College students?

Millennials are one of the hot topics in the Church right now. There are numerous books, articles, and blogs that touch on the subject. There are articles why they leave. There are articles about why they stay. There are articles about making worship more entertaining to attract them, or keeping it traditional and your current young adults won’t leave. Pretty much, there are articles supporting and refuting any side of the argument.

Why do I bring this up? Because I want to follow the fad? Nope. I’m not really a follow-the-crowd type of gal. Recently, I had a transition in my career and this topic-- millennials and the Church-- is something that meets me at the office door literally every day. 

For the past six years I’ve been in the traditional church setting. Not traditional in the sense of type of worship-style traditional. Traditional, as in a congregational setting; four walls, a sanctuary, cradle to grave ministry. However, this January, I began a new journey and am now serving at a Wichita State University campus ministry. It has been some of the most exciting, fun-filled, and busy months I have had in ministry! 

So in this post, I don’t offer a lot of knowledge about technology and the Church, but I am going to take this post to be real. I’d like to share with you some of the struggles I’ve had and things I’ve learned the last few months, while changing my perspective and approach to communication: 

  • How do college-aged adults communicate? How can I get in touch with them?
  • They aren’t on Facebook folks.
  • I tried SnapChat...for about two weeks. I don’t get it.
  • Thankfully, a lot of them use Instagram. Which I am actually familiar with.
  • GroupMe seems to be a way they stay in touch. Thank the Lord I utilize this already myself!
  • I haven’t figured out if they text or email? Some do. Some don’t.
  • Buffer is a huge blessing in ministry. If you aren’t using something to schedule your social media posts. Take the time to check it out!
  • Why didn’t I see them (the college-aged) before? Why did it take me moving into this role to recognize the value they add the Church?
  • Don’t overlook a demographic because it’s a small segment of your church. Are there college students, single moms, widows, etc. that we are not fully engaging with because they make up a small segment of our church bodies?
  • Am I too old to do this ministry? Gosh, sometimes it feels like it. Can I even relate to them?
  • Yes, I can relate to them. You know why? Jesus. We share that common love. We share that common bond. This makes us family.
  • I have been blessed to meet some of the most wonderful people in the last few months. Many of which are almost 15 years younger than myself.

 So you see, I’m coming at this blog writing from an entirely new perspective.  I myself am a millennial (depending on which article you read). Although, I am on the very tail-end of the generation. Over the next few months, I am going to interview and post about the Church and millenials; specifically college-aged young adults.

How can the Church better communicate to and serve college-age adults? I’m going to ask you to email me in the next few weeks your questions. What do you want to hear from college-age students?  What things do you want to know about their perspective in the Church?

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Jenn Eickman

Written by Jenn Eickman

Jenn is the Director of Development at the Lutheran Student Center and Fairmount Coffee, as well as a freelance communicator who has worked with churches and nonprofits. After studying communications at Iowa State University, she received a master’s degree in public administration from Drake University. Jenn is passionate about sharing the love of Jesus Christ and continues to be in awe of how the Lord led her into the field of church communications. She enjoys having deep discussions, playing piano, reading, and knitting, along with rooting for the Iowa State Cyclones with her husband.