Ok, here is the second reason often given for NOT having a college ministry – and why I don’t think it’s valid. I want to preface this by saying this is not an often articulated reason, but nonetheless, it’s real. And more real than some would like to admit.
This is a portion of Appendix E in College Ministry 101.
” It will be a financial liability. Let me be clear: I don’t like to talk about money, especially in the context of ministry. However, the reality is that finances are a major reason why churches aren’t pursuing college-age ministry. And it’s true: College-age ministry doesn’t really pay for itself the way other ministries do. It may not directly bring in more families or more adults who then give money to the church like other ministries might. But I believe college-age ministry pays for itself, just not directly.
In our church, more than 80 percent of our student-ministry volunteers are college-age people. It’s no surprise that the stronger these youth ministries are, the more families come (I only mentioned student ministry here, but children’s ministry and others also apply). When families are present, so are finances. But those college-age volunteers are at our church because of the college-age ministry. The ministry brings them in, they get connected and discipled, and they serve in a ministry that brings in more families. When we invest in college-age people, they reciprocate by investing in the church.
This ministry also pays for itself indirectly because it focuses on assimilation. If there’s no college-age ministry, there’s not much to keep college-age people involved in the church. And most of them don’t come back. What does this scenario have to do with finances? College-age people might not directly bring money into the church during the ages of 18 to 25, but if they stay involved, they’re much more likely to continue their church involvement between the ages of 26 and 30. And those are the years when they begin to tithe directly. In our church, those who have gone through our college-age ministry not only tithe, but also continue to serve. Of course, the point isn’t the potential of more giving units; the point is that these people matter. They deserve our time, and all I’m saying is finances are simply not a legitimate reason to avoid ministering to them.”