I don’t know about you, but it seems like I’m in lots of meetings and conversations that try to evaluate and get to the bottom of what young adults, college students, and college ministry leaders are really thinking about, struggling with, and where they are wanting to see change. Sometimes, we are able to guess correctly, and other times, we may end up missing the mark. But, as a part of my day-to-day work, I get to manage some events for college students and college ministry leaders, and I can tell pretty clearly some of the topics they are MOST interested in based on which breakouts they choose to attend at these events.
Over the past year, I specifically have some data to pull from to show what college students (Collegiate Week) and ministry leaders (Collegiate Summit) wanted to learn more about. There are probably numerous factors that affect this list, including the presenters and times these breakouts were offered, but I think the overall list gives us some great insight into the questions, needs, and challenges surrounding young adult ministry today. So first, the lists. List one is the top ten breakouts attended by COLLEGE STUDENTS at 2018’s Collegiate Week, in order of attendance.
- Campus Myths Nobody Should Believe but Almost Everyone Does
- Dealing with Doubt
- Political Correction
- The Goal of Gospel-Centered Dating
- The Practice of Gospel-Centered Dating
- Leadership for Lunatics
- Becoming a Leader Worth Following
- Don’t Waste Your Singleness
- Anxiety, Depression, and Suicide: Fact and Fiction
- Grace and Truth for LGBT Topics
This second list is breakouts attended by COLLEGE MINISTRY LEADERS at 2018’s Collegiate Summit, also in order of attendance.
- Sophomores, Socrates, and Safe Spaces: Hard Questions on College Campuses Today
- Survival Skills (How to Thrive in Ministry)
- Counseling the Hard Cases: The Sufficiency of Scripture for Life’s Problems
- Understanding the Five Thresholds of Conversion
- Embracing the Risk of the Gospel
- Developing Leadership Pipelines: Moving Students from Entry to Impact
- Making College Ministry Fun (Again!)
- Today’s Topics and Questions (Q&A with a panel of college ministry veterans)
- Lord, Teach Us to Pray
- The DNA of a Healthy Discipleship Group
Pretty interesting lists, right? It’s evident from the first list that young adults are looking for help navigating relationships and dating, wanting to be leaders who faithfully serve in God’s calling on their lives, and needing input on how to think rightly about some of the hot-button topics in our culture. The leader’s list, on the other hand, is a little more all over the place, which is a reminder that college ministry leaders face a barrage of needs in the lives of young adults. Ministry is hard, and the needs are many, but the potential impact is HUGE as we help these young adults figure out how to step fully into all God is calling them to be and do. With so many questions and the barrage of needs around us, let’s commit to pray for one another as we seek to be used by God in the lives of college students and young adults.
Bill Noe is the Collegiate Ministry Specialist at Lifeway Christian Resources. A former campus minister (and current collegiate ministry volunteer at church), Bill loves being a part of seeing college students grow in their walk with the Lord. Connect with Bill on Twitter.