Welcome to School
Because of the school year that has recently started for so many college students, such as myself, I felt the need to review this article. I hope it lets you see why we do what we do at Garvinwood. The goal is the water, in this case is Jesus Christ, the living water. The water that we offer to people is a water that will never leave anyone longing for something else. I hope you find as much truth in this article review as I do.
Brief summary: We can learn from colleges that integration should not be pestering people to get involved. Our job as church leaders should be to prepare excellent waters with limited objectives; it is up to them to jump in and enjoy. Here is my blog in response to the article.
The quote, “Students need to be resilient, vocal and willing to leave their comfort zones to succeed at a large university,” initially caught me off guard. I always thought it was the job of Campus Life and Admissions to force new students to become a part of the student body. I continued reading and allowed the article to teach me things about new comer integration in the church. The article spends a large amount of time discussing the importance of relationships for effective integration. It says students can become a part of the body by building relationships with peers, those who have recently travelled the course, and professors who hold life wisdom.
We should translate the quote, “Faculty are massive resources to students beyond their content that they teach. They’re phenomenal for mentoring students. They’re phenomenal for writing letters of recommendation in the future,” into the perspective of church integration. Instead of faculty it would be Sunday School teachers or other lay leaders. The hope is for new comers to build relationships with those people whose knowledge can be helpful not only in the Bible and in Christian and church life but also in areas of life that eventually become dark nights of the soul. Lay leaders can offer prayers, guidance, and emotional encouragement to members during their journey.
Another interesting aspect of integration presented in the article is that it is better for students to stand out than it is to blend in. The common thought in church life is to blend new members in so well that they become a part of the heartbeat. From this article, we can begin to suppose that in the process of integration of new comers into our churches, we as leadership teams must make sure that new members “stand out” by using their particular skills to assist in the continual growth of the body.
Large colleges, like churches, are able to have more opportunities for new students to become integrated and make “this large campus”, become “my school”. The article places the responsibility on the student to take initiative and get involved. It has been a common place in church leadership, however, to stray from the strategies of very successful state-run educational facilities and instead take the responsibility of integrating new comers into our already busy hands by continually pestering them. Instead, we should follow suit and make opportunities known and readily available, encourage them to make friendships by raising up people in the congregation who are good at making friends, and let our newest members decide if they want to join the body or not. As many people have said before me, we can lead the horse to water, but we cannot force him to drink. Like the individuals of this article, our job as church leaders should be to prepare excellent waters with limited objectives; it is up to them to jump in and enjoy.