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Written by Madison Rush (member of YAMC)

They have been through the children program and the youth group, but now they are in the awkward time before they leave to go to their first year of college, and they are not sure where they belong in the church. They are ending up their summer vacation with a lot of last church camps, and a lot of goodbyes and off they go to an unknown world called college. Many times when young adults go off to college many churches never see them again, or they stop attending church. In reality this time of life is a very challenging, and eye-opening time. It is a time of figuring out what they personally believe and not what they have grown up on. It is a time to let go of them in a way that is supporting, but not too overbearing. Many churches never stay in touch with their college-aged young adults, and this causes many to stray away from their home church. There are ways though to make the transition easier on them, and help them stay as involved as they can in church at this age. Here are a couple things:Send them simple reminders-They love the simple thought that their church was thinking about them. Have the children, or youth in the church come up with a care package full of homemade goodies, and candy that will brighten their day and show them that the church cares. Also, simple cards of encouragement are always a great way to brighten their day too. It does not have to be expensive or huge, but the feeling of receiving something from your home church is very uplifting and helps getting through holidays, finals, or just a normal week easier.

1.Send them simple reminders-They love the simple thought that their church was thinking about them. Have the children, or youth in the church come up with a care package full of homemade goodies, and candy that will brighten their day and show them that the church cares. Also, simple cards of encouragement are always a great way to brighten their day too. It does not have to be expensive or huge, but the feeling of receiving something from your home church is very uplifting and helps getting through holidays, finals, or just a normal week easier.

2. Have a mentor system– The transition from high school to college is one of the hardest. Have someone in the church be a mentor to that college freshman. Have that mentor just check in on them every now and then to make sure they are okay or getting through the semester well. Form relationships that can help them learn and grow, but can be trusting enough to openly talk about anything. It can extend on to the later years of college as well. Once they form that relationship they will always have someone to talk to.

UKIRK blue

3. Connect them with an on campus ministry groupUKirk is a great campus ministry organization or you can look up on the college websites, and find a college ministry group that the youth leader can connect them with. This will take some research, time, and patience. E-mail the leader or someone involved with the ministry and tell them who you are, and who you would want them to reach out to. This will help college freshman go into their school having an idea of a group they could possibly get involved with, and that there is always a group they can be a part of for now on. It is okay if it is not Cumberland Presbyterian as well. Having them spend time with new groups, and new ideas can help strengthen their faith, and teach them new and exciting things.

4. Realize that it is okay if a young adult has some time away from the church– This time in life is a time to figure out how to be independent, and learn what you believe. Do not judge that young adult about going or not going to church. Sometimes that young adult does not have a church to go to. They might have not found that church they feel connected to. Or they have an on campus ministry meeting during the week they consider church that they might attend. Support them, and help them with anything and everything they are doing.

Reach out to your college students. It’s a big world out there, and with their home churches help life seems a little less complicating. Be there for them and know that no matter what you will always be their home.

Picture by Alex Luyckx 

CC licence

Picture of Nathan Wheeler

Nathan Wheeler

Coordinator of youth and young adult ministries
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