"Change the university and you change the world." These words of Charles Habib Malik, well-known professor, theologian, diplomat, political leader, and author of A Christian Critique of the University, have been true in the past—and remain true today. For example, did you know that a number of notable movements were born in the university or among young adults and subsequently impacted the course of Christianity?
- 1st century—Paul at Ephesus in the lecture halls of Tyrannus.
- 13th century—St. Francis of Assisi and other disenchanted upper- and middle-class young adults in Italy, raising up more than 200,000 missionaries.
- 16th century—Reformers Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin in academia and lecture halls.
- 19th century—The Haystack Movement and Student Volunteer Movement of foreign missions.
College is a critical time for Christian students to begin to develop a life-long appreciation for the local church's vital role in saving a lost world,as well as to gain the ministry skills that will help bring this about. The Church also needs to support the faculty and staff who work on our college and university campuses and to prepare them to be godly leaders on campus. We believe that our culture and our world can be changed through students, faculty, and administrators who are transformed by the truth and grace of Jesus Christ.
The General Assembly established the College Ministry Committee in 2005 to develop a plan to engage the EPC in transforming today's college and university culture. In 2012, the General Assembly approved the combination of Student Ministries and College Ministries, after both committees voted to recommend changes in the Rules for Assembly to create a Committee on Student and College Ministries with a requirement that at least three members of the twelve-member committee represent College Ministries. Rationale for the recommendation resulted from a change in the focus of College Ministries from church planting to equipping all EPC churches to foster sustainable faith in young adults. Combining efforts supported the desire of both committees to give special attention to preparing students for navigating the transitions post high school and into the work force.
The Student and College Ministries Committee and Coordinator are thereby charged to responsively serve those in youth and college/young adult ministry within the EPC. The Committee identified the following strategies to support ministry leaders and churches serving college-aged young adults: bring together like minds to connect and collaborate (Gather); offer resources and opportunities (Resource); and equip and mobilize (Develop).
COLLEGE MINISTRIES PRIORITIES
The College Ministries Committee has developed the following ministry priorities:
LINKING EPC CAMPUS MINISTERS
A top priority is to link EPC campus ministers with other leaders on campuses nationwide who share the same vision for churches to impact the college campus for Christ.
EQUIPPING CHURCHES WITH MODELS OF COLLEGE MINISTRY
A congregation does not have to launch a major program with significant staff time commitment to have an impact on college students. Models of College Ministry offer suggestions to EPC congregations to help them begin or expand their ministry to college students.
DEVELOPING STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS
To further this goal, in 2007 the EPC entered into a cooperative agreement with the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO) based out of Pittsburgh, Penn.
PLANTING CHURCHES IN COLLEGE TOWNS
The Church Planting & Revitalization Committee and the College Ministries Committee believe that God is calling us as a denomination to recapture the university campus through church planting. We seek to establish full-bodied, multi-generational, grace-filled, redeeming bodies of Christ committed to reaching an often-overlooked community with the life-saving message of Jesus Christ.
TRANSFORMING THE WORLD THROUGH MISSIONS
The World Outreach Committee and the College Ministries Committee are partnering to ensure that our church calls, equips, and sends this generation of young people into the mission field.