Your graduating seniors are heading off to college. They’re leaving the herd and the lion is waiting. For some of them, this may be the last time sitting in the pew of a Lutheran church—it may be the last time they’re in church- period! Believe me, BELIEVE ME, we need to help them find a confessional Lutheran church home away from home.
I don’t know the stats. But I do know from the school of experience that many of our Lutheran students are finding their way to other churches of other confessions (or no confessions!). Their new friends on campus are showing them where they go. Para-church groups are inviting them to their Bible studies. Most of their peers don’t even go to church! The busyness of studying, social life, part-time jobs, and everything else leaves no opportunity to squeeze in a little time on Sunday for the Divine Service. Sadly, and I’m very serious, even our students who have faithfully attended church with their families from their conception in the womb, have been baptized and well catechized in the faith, have heard the greatest Law/Gospel sermons ever, and have faithfully received the Sacrament, are suddenly gone.
Perhaps slightly (or extremely) ignorant of the danger that lurks on the college campus, students are easy prey and need our help. This is my cry for help on their behalf, because frankly speaking, they might be consumed so quickly that their cry is too late or never heard:
One way to help is rare, but it shouldn’t be!—Another pastor will call me or contact me about his student who is now attending college near our church. He will tell his student about our congregation. He will provide contact information as needed. He will do whatever he can to make sure his student continues steadfast in hearing the Word and receiving the Sacrament. He will be sure to direct his own dear son/daughter in the faith safely to another herd— another community of confessional Lutherans who gather together for protection against the enemy.
I wish all pastors would do this for their students. But my wishing doesn’t stop here, oh no, it does not stop here…
I wish that more parents would stop by the church building with their son or daughter during orientation (because it’s kinda important).
I wish that pastors would check in from time to time to see how their students are doing,
I wish that pastors would teach their students what to look for when attending another church (Christ-centered, liturgical, Law/Gospel, right administration of the sacraments, etc.) and what to avoid.
I wish that congregations would remember those who have gone away to college (send them one of those Christ on Campus care packages! http://higherthings.org/campus.html).
I wish, simply, that we all would consider helping our students in whatever way possible as they leave home.
Please help your students find other like-minded Lutherans wherever they are going. Help them find a pastor and congregation who will protect them from the lies they will hear on campus. A great place to begin is the list of campus ministry chapters on the Christ on Campus site: http://higherthings.org/campus/chapters.html
I’d like to hear from you. What else can we do to help our college-bound students?