In the world of college ministry (and these are probably somewhat universal to any life stage), there are several lies that are spread around like wildfire. I attest to these, not only as someone that works in college ministry, but also as someone who recently graduated from college, and am still in the throws of collegiate life (I live on campus, I have 4 student roommates, I work on campus 3 days a week, I am taking a class, etc.).
I think that the word lies is appropriate, but I’ve been thinking that an equally good term could be excuses. If I had a nickel for every time one of these was used…or even every time that I used one of them, I would be a rich man.
1. College students do not have money.
I think everyone has heard this one. College students are poor. We don’t have money to spend. When we are not studying, we are digging through couches to try and find an extra dime or quarter to do our laundry or to be able to afford a few more packs of Ramen so we can eat at least one meal every couple of days or so.
Although it is a common misconception about us, we have money. Two thirds of us have jobs while we’re in school, and that money does not all go to pay for school supplies. On the contrary, we spend billions of dollars each year. And not just a few billion. A few years ago, a survey determined that college students spend on average $53.9 billion a year in discretionary spending. That means that we are eating out. We go to Starbucks on a daily basis. We will buy stuff that entertains us. iPod’s. CD’s. DVD’s. Video Games. Computers. We will spend the money to throw good parties. We will give money to causes.
College students have money. Lots of it.
2. College students do not have cars.
Everyone has heard this one too. And it may be true. Many of us do not own a car. I didn’t have one through four years of college.
But, get us excited about something that we need to drive to, and rest assured knowing that we will be there. We will drive for hours to get to concerts. We will convince our friends with cars that we need to drive to the mall, or the movie theater – and they will drive us there. You will see us at Coachella, Bonnaroo, Summerfest, or the New Orleans Jazz Festival. We may not all have cars, but we know how to get them from our friends, parents, or complete strangers. More than 400,000 of us will drive to Panama City Beach each year for spring break.
We may not own cars, but we certainly have access to cars.
3. College students do not have time.
I love this one. Everyone knows that college students do not have time. We are all studying in the library, and cannot be asked to give up time to do other things.
Whatever. We will make time for whatever we want. Yes, we do spend time studying and writing papers. But we will also make sure that we can check Facebook on the hour. We will instant message our friends at other schools, or at the very least check their away messages. We will play Halo every night with the guys from down the hall. We will find time to get to the best parties on the weekends. We will wait in line for hours to get the best tickets to the football games.
Oh, and I forgot to mention. We will also run your political campaign, and convince our friends to go door to door for you. We will sleep outside in the middle of rain for kids in Uganda. We will volunteer in your children’s ministry. We will volunteer in your soup kitchen, and spend hours licking envelopes to send out mailings.
Trust me, college students have time.
I hear these three
lies excuses all the time. I use these excuses all the time.
Trust me on this. College students will make time, find transportation, and spend money for things that are worthwhile.
The issue is NOT time, transportation, or money. The issue is worth.
So, if you are involved in college ministry, are you inviting students to something that is worthwhile? Students will not turn out for Event X or Gathering Y if it isn’t worth their time. Thinking about having an event off campus? That’s fine, but make it worthwhile. Are people simply being invited to a place, or are you inviting them into a cause that can have global repercussions?
But this goes beyond a simple college ministry application. I believe that college students are waiting. Waiting to be challenged. Challenged to change the world.
Change the world? It sounds cliché, but I believe that there is such truth in that statement. We are more aware than any previous generation of the events happening daily in our world. We know that there is an entire continent ravaged by disease. Our hearts break when we hear about the Invisible Children of Uganda. We empathize with those in Nepal fighting for political autonomy. We feel connected to those who suffer in the third world. We want to help fight the famine in Nigeria.
I don’t know….maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong…maybe I’m missing something. What are your thoughts?
Inspirations and References
- Louie Giglio’s final talk at the Thirsty ’06 Conference (www.268store.com)