Many people will ask, why do collegiate ministry? The answer is simple. There is a huge need for it. When we see 80%-90% of kids raised in the church leave the faith after graduating high school, there is a major problem. It's heartbreaking. We hope to change those numbers drastically.
College is a time where students are out on their own for the first time. They are out from under their parents' wing. Students have to now make decisions for themselves. They don't have a parent telling them what to do for the most part. There is no one there to guide them other than their new campus friends and maybe a professor or two. No one is there to make them go to church. This is a time where these young adults make their faith their own one way or another. Whether they choose Christ or not, no one is making that choice for them. The choice and decision now rests with them.
For Mike and Rachel, they see this as a critical season in the time of the young adult's life. This is a time where people change into the person they are going to be for the rest of their lives. Without someone to encourage and give guidance, faith can be destroyed by the culture around the students and certain professors with agendas. There are certainly a lot of beliefs, counter to what the student believes, taught in the classroom. From a young age, students are taught never to question their teachers. They take that reasoning into their college classes absorbing what their professors feed them without thinking critically about it. Unfortunately, there are some profs that are bent on destroying a students faith and the culture they come from. All too often, college students take whatever their professor says as absolute truth and allow themselves to be brainwashed out of their faith without even knowing it. Without collegiate ministers, there are no voices to help build up a faith that college culture so loves to tear down.
For both Rachel and Mike, college was a time where they could have gone either way. Looking back, they are extremely thankful that they had people and ministries that poured into them.
Rachel was at a point in her life where she had grown up in a very solid Christian home, the daughter of missionaries. Still, she had a time of rebellion during her college years. In her heart, she knew God was real but she wanted to do her own thing. She was at a point where she didn't want to listen to her parents. Thankfully, her older brother made it a point to meet with her as much as possible. Even though Rachel didn't always like what he had to say, he was there for her to encourage her and keep her accountable. He was someone who could still speak into her life at a time where she really didn't want to listen to authority figures. With how big of an impact her brother was on her life and faith, Rachel truly desires to be just that, a voice of encouragement and guidance, for the students God brings her way.
For Mike, there wasn't a whole lot of public rebellion. He credits that, one to Christ, and two to the ministries he had pouring into him. Sure, he had his struggles and was certainly not perfect during the college years but having those ministry leaders and friends in the ministries always helped him not stray too far. Mike hopes to encourage and disciple the students the same way people have for him pouring into his life.
At Fort Lewis College, there is a great need for more leaders to step into ministry on campus. There are many who have never even heard the Gospel. There are also those who may know Christ but don't feel comfortable with traditional church and ministry settings. There are athletes who have game and training schedules that make it hard to get connected with churches or ministries. There are international students who don't even know the name of Jesus. They come to campus from halfway across the world. They come to hear about Jesus whether they know it or not. Each student, God has brought to campus to hear the Gospel. The campus just needs more people to get the Message out. Mike and Rachel are stepping up and stepping out in faith to be those people who will help bring the Gospel to FLC.