GLORIETA, N.M. — The 2,000-plus college-age students attending Collegiate Week full of passion and purpose were confronted with the needs of a hurting world and outlets for them to meet those needs through transformational missions opportunities.
Adult leaders and students from all across the country descended on Lifeway Glorieta Conference Center near Santa Fe, N.M., Aug. 7-11 for Collegiate Week, sponsored by the Threads young adult area of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The week’s main session speakers were Michael Kelley, Bible study editor at Lifeway and a Threads author, and Matt Chandler, lead pastor at The Village Church in Highland Village, Texas.
Kelley spoke on the opportunities people who are sold out to Jesus have to see Him at work.
“Christianity is not a crutch for the weak,” he said. “That gives us too much credit. Christianity is a stretcher for the dead! We didn’t just need a little help. We are a bunch of reborn corpses.
“You can’t script out what happened to us when Christ came into our lives,” he continued. “We’ve been born again into a family that will never revoke our membership.”
Kelley said his heart’s goal is to be “left breathless with praise welling up and erupting in the light of what God is doing in us.”
In one of his preaching times, Chandler spoke about dealing with sin before it completely takes hold.
“You have issues,” he told the college crowd. “Sin issues. They are in your life. You know it. You admit it. You confess it. You swear you’ll never do it again, but then you go right out and do it again.”
Speaking directly to the young men in the audience, he said, “Men, it’s a terrifying reality that your sin will affect your wife and your children. Deal with it now so you won’t have to deal with it 10 years from now. God will expose your sin. He does that. It’s better if you confess and repent yourself.
“You overcome sin when you realize that Christ is lovelier than that sin,” he said. “When you see Him as more beautiful and more attractive that your sin, you will cast aside the sin. You want to get out of sin? Grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Students and leaders could choose from more than 150 breakout conferences on topics ranging from C.S. Lewis, evangelism, marriage, social networking, an in-depth dive into Genesis, money management, long term missions, and BAM (Be a Man).
Linda Osborne, director of Lifeway’s Threads area, facilitated a session for leaders on helping students transition well from student to young professional. In the open forum session, leaders were free to offer their own suggestions of what they have seen work.
“We have learned that this is a time of crisis for many students,” Osborne said. “Psychologists say that how a young person handles the first major crisis sets the stage for how they handle the rest.”
She said for this reason, there must be some sort of transitional ministry time.
Understanding that junior and senior college students have more demands of their time academically, Osborne said college ministry leaders will have to accept these students will be involved in college ministry differently than they were as freshmen and sophomores.
“Help them connect strongly to a local church,” she said. “Remind them it is OK to be assertive in their church and find a place of ministry that will work with the time they have.”
Osborne said a young professional tends to look for four things in a church:
Community – They want church to be authentic and real. They aren’t looking for fluff. Their time is too valuable for that.
Connection – They want to be mentored by someone honest and practical. They want to connect with people of all ages, not just other young adults.
Depth – They aren’t afraid of doing and learning hard things. Again, no fluff.
Responsibility – They want their church to be proactive and meet needs they see. They want ministry to be local as well as national and international.
Chuck Lawless is author of Mentoring, a new book from Threads, and vice president for global theological advance at the International Mission Board. Speaking about the importance of leaders investing their lives into young adults, he said, “I’m convinced that if you aren’t mentoring someone, you aren’t following the biblical model [of Jesus]. For me, it’s just that basic.”
He said, “Our job is to invest ourselves in others so that if we die tomorrow, our ministry will go on.
“The people Jesus poured His life into became those who took the gospel to the world,” Lawless said. “Mentoring takes a nobody and makes him a somebody. When you pour your life into somebody, you tell them they are important not only to you, but to God.”
Lindsay Lau was part of a nine-member Hawaii delegation attending Collegiate Week.
“The week has been great,” Lau said. “I have learned a lot, but honestly I have been put in a position to really think about my relationship with God and what He wants for me.”
Upcoming events for collegiates
In 2011, the NOW conference webcast will be presented at 7 p.m. (CDT) on Sept. 27. Events in 2012: Lift, a winter collegiate event for students, Jan. 2-5 at Glorieta. Beach Reach, March 3-9 and 10-16 in Panama City Beach, Fla. The triennial Collegiate Summit for leaders (no students), May 2-4 at Lifeway’s home office in Nashville, Tenn. Collegiate Week, Aug. 5-9 at Glorieta. Go to ThreadsMedia.com/Events to get more information.
by Polly House, Communications Department
Photos by Chris Carter
Michael Kelley speaks during Collegiate Week 2011 at Glorieta Conference Center. Kelley, a Bible study editor for Lifeway and author of three books, lives in Nashville, Tenn., with his wife, Jana, and their three kids.
John Moore, Lifeway’s national collegiate ministry specialist, talks with students at Collegiate Week: Lisa Taylor (green shirt) from Grace Fellowship, Vail Ariz.,; Matt Mariconda (white t-shirt) from Waikiki Baptist Church, Honolulu; and Lindsay Lau (black shirt) from Kahului Baptist Church, Kahului.