VFY Ministry to College / University Students
The largest generation in US history is headed to college. According to Neil Howe and William Strauss, perhaps this nation’s leading generational experts (in Millennials Go to College); the peak birth year for Millennials was 1990. That would make the high school Classes of 2008 and 2009 the largest graduating classes ever. The demographics shout the facts. Over the next few years the enrollment in American colleges and universities will swell to the largest ever.
The church must do something about it. Undoubtedly, you’ve heard the statistics. The number one time for people to quit going to church and, in fact, walk away from their relationship with God is immediately following their graduation from high school. According to a soon-to-be-released study from Lifeway’s Ed Stetzer (see Lost and Found: The Younger Unchurched and the Churches That Reach Them to be released in February 2009), “88% of evangelical children are leaving the church shortly after they graduate from high school.”
Here’s what church life experts Thom Rainer & Sam Rainer III reported in their new book, Essential Church: Reclaiming a Generation of Dropouts, “The church is losing the generational battle… Multitudes are dropping out of church… in order to stop the mass exodus, churches must renew their focus on those in the mid to late teens.”
Well-known youth ministry expert Chap Clark agrees and identifies a common scenario, "In most churches, when adolescents leave high school, there are few programmatic options available for them much less a welcoming community that is committed to bring them into the life of the body." (See Hurt: Inside the World of Today’s Teenagers).
Vision For Youth has decided to do something about this growing crisis by launching a new division that is dedicated to reaching and discipling college-age young adults. This past fall, Todd Walker (son of Mel and Peggy Walker – Mel is the co-founder and president of VFY) made application to VFY as their first college and career-age missionary. Todd’s new ministry will be centered in Washtenaw County, Michigan – where close to 100,000 college and university students are enrolled in the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Cleary University, and Washtenaw Community College.
Calvary Baptist Church
in Ypsilanti, MI will serve as his base of operations for this new ministry. However, Todd will work with a collaborative consortium of other churches in and near Washtenaw County to form a strategic outreach and assimilation plan to funnel students into the local church.
In that he will function on “missionary status” – Todd will work within the next several months to raise his own financial support through the VFY network of churches. The VFY administrative team, alongside the leadership of Calvary Baptist Church, will provide accountability and oversight for this new outreach endeavor. He will be actively seeking churches and individuals who share this visionary initiative to reach out to college and university students. More information and available dates for Todd to present his ministry in churches can be obtained by contacting VFY.
If your church has high school graduates who are living in southeastern Michigan, please let us know. You can send those students’ names and contact information to Todd via VFY at:
. Todd covets your prayer as he launches this new endeavor through VFY.