Why College Ministry Matters

by Stephen Weinkauf

I thank God for you, church family. I thank God that Kossuth is a church that is grounded in Scripture, seeks to gather well for His praise, strives to stand side-by-side for the faith of the gospel as you seek to help each other grow, and that you seek to serve in this community and in your own circle to advance the gospel. I also thank God that you seek to minister in these ways to our college students.

Our church and our homes are located so close to a very large campus. In some ways, it can seem vain to spend time ministering to people who will only be with us for 4 years and then leave. But despite this temporality, there are a lot of opportunities to minister to students. Salt and Light Christian Fellowship is Kossuth’s undergraduate student ministry at Purdue and provides a great opportunity to praise God alongside students at Kossuth on Sunday mornings. We have the opportunity to disciple students through formal opportunities like PODs (small groups of college students led by a Kossuth member) and informal opportunities like lunches or just interacting with a student on a Sunday morning. We also have the opportunity to partner with students who are seeking to advance the gospel on campus through encouragement, accountability, and prayer.

In some ways it may seem vain, but I urge you, church, that ministering to college students is very important for Kossuth. Here are a few reasons why:

Our students serve the church well. Many of our students serve in a variety of ways at Kossuth. They serve in the sound booth or on the worship team on Sundays. Students serve in our children’s ministry on Wednesday nights. Salt and Light students serve in some of our community outreach opportunities, like tutoring at the Excel Center or serving at the Excel graduation that we host. Students serve our Salt and Light International staff on campus. Students even babysit for a lot of families at Kossuth so they can go on date nights!

Our students encourage the church in evangelism. At one of Salt and Light’s recent Friday night meetings, the students went around sharing some of the outreach opportunities they have with friends and classmates and spent time praying for each other in these ways. It was extremely encouraging for me to hear. Sharing about outreach opportunities and praying for each other is a great way to encourage others in evangelism. This fall, ask a student about who they’re reaching out to and how you can be praying for them. I’m sure you’ll be encouraged.

Our students have a huge mission field. College is such an awesome time in a Christian’s life. It is a season filled with fellow students who don’t know the gospel but are very open to discussing ideas with others. They are similar in age and all have the like-goal of graduation. Some of our students live in the residence halls or on campus in close proximity to many other students and see these same students in class each day. These aspects make college a very fruitful time for outreach and give our students a unique opportunity for the gospel. Without a college ministry, Kossuth would have fewer opportunities to impact this mission field that God has placed on our doorstep.

We have an opportunity to build the global Church. While college can be a fruitful season of ministry for Christian students, it can also be a difficult time. Many students don’t connect well in service, discipleship, and mission with a local church. Many just attend on a Sunday morning and don’t connect further. Through Salt and Light, we as a church have the ability to disciple our students well to be strong leaders and disciple-makers in the church. Adults in the church who intentionally disciple our college students show them what discipleship, ministry, and service in the church looks like. Many of our students graduate and leave Kossuth well-prepared to serve another church well wherever they land. Other students graduate and leave Kossuth to serve the Church overseas. I’ve had a lot of awesome opportunities to interact with Salt and Light alumni who lead small groups, help out with the college ministry, teach in their youth ministry, or even serve in global ministry.

In some ways I am saddened to spend so much time building up students only for them to leave. I selfishly wish they could all be serving in these awesome ways at Kossuth. But when I see the impact God is making through them in the global Church, I praise Him so much! God is certainly using Kossuth to build up so many other churches through our alumni!

I get the great blessing of serving the students at Kossuth as our pastoral intern, but all of you serve our students in so many ways that I can’t. I thank God for you, Kossuth, for caring so much about our college ministry and seeing the importance of maintaining a presence on campus. I pray that you will continue to partner with me and our students in the gospel and seek ways to pour into our Salt and Light students when they return in August.