The school year officially begins for university students in the U.S. and in most other countries in the month of September. Therefore, a great focus and priority should be on campus evangelism. Students are fresh from summer vacation and many freshmen are interested in joining Christian groups.
The beginning of the school year is the best time for spiritual fishing. Once this time is lost, it will be hard to recover a strong pace or momentum for campus evangelism. This is the best time to act and save this dying age group.
A study conducted by Barna Group, described the changing faces of America’s churchless in the 21st century. One of the most interesting relationships was the increase of skeptics among young people and college educated people.
Skeptics, according to the article “2015 State of Atheism in America,” include atheists and agnostics. Skeptics represent 25% of unchurched adults and there are several major shifts in the profile of these people. Skeptics are developing at younger and younger ages. According to a survey conducted in 1993, only 18% of skeptics were under the age of 30. However, in 2013, the percentage almost doubled to 34%. While only 33% of skeptics were college educated, according to the survey more than 20 years ago, the percentage has risen to 50% as of 2013.
While young people have become less Christian, the proportion of skeptics aged 65 or older has decreased. Unfortunately, the abundance of churches and Christian organizations has not helped to reach out to those who have doubts about God or the Bible. Two-thirds of skeptics have been to church before and still hold to anti-Christian views.
In light of today’s post-Christian culture, Christians have a responsibility to shine the light of truth especially among young adults who will become our world leaders very soon. As Barna Group describes, atheism or anti-Christian views have changed from once being a “culture anathema” to being what the “cooler” kids do.
“It is increasingly common among Millennials to dismiss religion, God, churches, authority and tradition,” David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group said, in his analysis of the data. “For years, some observers have claimed colleges and universities are a breeding ground for anti-God sentiment. The data does lend support to the notion that college campuses are comfortable places for young people to abandon God and assume control of their own lives.
He continued, “Yet in spite of clear trends and obvious needs, our research suggests that most of the efforts of Christian ministries fail to reach much beyond the core of ‘Christianized’ America. It’s much easier to work with this already-sympathetic audience than to focus on the so-called ‘nones.’ And it’s no mystery why: Figuring out how to effectively engage skeptics is difficult.”
Kinnaman goes on to share that skeptics are less engaged in social activities and perhaps less likely to want to form a relationship among ministry leaders. This may discourage Christians from trying to reach out to skeptics or those who do not claim any religious affiliation.
“But in giving his followers the Great Commission, Jesus didn’t mention anything about doing what is easy. New levels of courage and clarity will be required to connect beyond the Christianized majority.”
May the Holy Spirit guide campus evangelism to boldly and lovingly reach out to all people with the love of Christ.