I love this time of the year. Summer is coming to a close; football is around the corner; fall air is crisp; colorful leaves sweep across the yard. However, as great as these events are, one thing trumps them all: the advent of college students returning to campus. I love the new opportunity to build relationships, share the Gospel, and see God transform individuals. The college ministry of Gateway Church, known as Engage, is super blessed with great leadership, both student and adult, plus a great “new” location.
Engage has three major components; Thursday Night Dinners, Life Groups, and Church attendance. Thursday night dinners is exactly like it sounds, a home cooked meal for college students where they can let down their guards and be transparent and honest about life. This weekly event is very laid-back which means we have a lot of students who do not know Jesus. For a lot of students, this is the first time they have had meaningful interaction with Christians.
Life Groups are the place where college students come to grow and ask questions about the faith. Here they grow in their faith, can ask questions, and learn about the relevance of the Bible to their lives. This is where they also experience biblical relationships. Life Groups are the backbone of the ministry.
Church is central to what we do and what we are about. We believe strongly, and there is research to back this up, that college students who have a healthy church experience while in school, will continue to walk in their faith. Conversely, students who do not have a healthy and strong relationship with a local church are very likely to leave their faith when they leave college.
In summary, each of these components (Thursday Night Dinners, Life Groups, and relationship with the church) occupies an important part of college students faith journey toward Christ and His church.