Collegiate DiscipleMaker College Ministry
Close this search box.

Bridging the Gap Between Campus and Church

Bridging the Gap Image

Bridging the Gap Between Campus and Church

Editor’s Note: This post is part four of our series on College Ministries and the Local Church examining the relationship between the two. You can read the previous posts here:

I don’t know about you, but lately, all the news consists of hateful ranting of the differing generations. Spitefulness and anger seem to rule the day. Many people complain about the failings, lack of preparedness, and moral degradation of society, and those complaints are coming from people on every side of the political and social environments we find ourselves in. There’s no doubt: our world is in desperate need of Jesus. The college campus is no different.

This current generation of college students is the driving force of society. Historically, student activism on college campuses has had a significant impact on society as a whole. Most major protests leaders and social media influencers are college-aged people. College campuses are incubators for liberal ideologies and cultural change. If we want to reach the next generation and have a meaningful impact on the culture we live in, then we must support college ministries. Why would you complain about the lostness of this generation and do nothing to change that?

The good news is, Missouri Baptists are doing something to change that by partnering with college ministries on almost 30 campuses. Maybe you don’t need convincing, or maybe you do: college ministry is worth supporting. It’s not just worth it; it’s necessary. Here are six reasons why.

College ministries are a bridge to the local church

We must support college ministries because they are the bridge between the young adult college students and the local church. College campuses are a mission field of their own, and like we send missionaries out to foreign lands to start ministries and churches, so we must send out missionaries to college campuses. That is what a campus missionary is, someone trained to go onto a college campus to engage the culture, meet needs, share the gospel, disciple students, teach the Word of God, and get them in the doors of a local church to further the kingdom of God. College ministries are not trying to take the place of the local church; rather they support the local church by bridging the gap where the church can’t always be, just like missionaries on a mission field.

"College ministries are not trying to take the place of the local church; rather they support the local church by bridging the gap where the church can't always be, just like missionaries on a missions field." -@christinab017_… Click To Tweet

College ministries reach the nations

College ministries reach the nations right here in your local college campus by way of international students. Even on my little campus, we have over 30 international students from all over the world: Japan, Panamá, Dominican Republic, Scotland, Venezuela…the list goes on.

This year we had a student from Japan ask to receive Christ as his Savior. In the midst of that conversation, he revealed that there is very little to no religion in his country. He will return to his country a different person equipped to do what we train students to do: spread the gospel in his home country. The same is true with many of my other international students. Larger campuses having even more to influence with gospel, without having to leave the country.

College students are safe places for seeking students

College ministries are safe places where students can ask questions, talk about divisive subjects, and hear scriptural truth in an environment they feel understood in. They are safe places where students can connect with others who are in the same stage of life as them. They are safe places where students can wrestle with difficult questions they may not ask or talk about in church due to fear of judgment or a perception that church is only for those who have it all together.

College ministries like the one I lead desire to change this perception by being available and creating an environment where students can come as they are, share from where they are, and find teaching, prayer, and instruction that speaks to where they are. We meet them where they are, but we don’t want them to stay where they are—we want them to grow.

This benefits the local church, too. When students come from this environment into local churches, they help make church a place of empathy, challenge, and growth. They serve and lead with that same willingness to meet people where they are at—just like Jesus did.  

“When students come from the college ministry environment into local churches, they help make church a place of empathy, challenge and growth.”

Christina Boatright

College ministries reach those who won’t set foot in a church—yet

College ministries open doors to students who have never been to church to hear and learn about God. I have several students this year who have never been to church and know nothing about Christianity. But they’ve started to attend Bible Studies and small group discussions every week. They ask questions. They are seeking community. They are looking for answers.

We are able to talk about culture, politics, and many other difficult subjects that they may never approach a church with. Plus they get to interact with other believing students and church people for the first time in some of their lives.

College ministries catch and grow future church leaders

Research shows students leaving high school have a significant chance of falling away from the faith they grew up in. These are future church leaders, lost for years, even decades, from the life of the local church if no one is there to catch them. College ministries help catch those students, giving them a strong community in which to find or grow their faith. We allow them space to flesh out what they believe and make their faith their own. We encourage them to be part of a local church while in college. We provide necessary accountability and encouragement so that they come out of college stronger in their faith than when they entered.

Plus, we equip them to serve the Kingdom of God. College ministries provide opportunities for believing students to learn how to lead, share their faith, disciple others, and serve. Many students, even those who grew up in church, lead a Bible study, preach a sermon, go on a mission trip, or share the gospel for the first time through their college ministry. They can then take these skills and apply them in their local church.

College ministries help the local church fulfill the Great Commission

College ministries are invaluable to the local church because we provide one way for churches to fulfill the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20 and reach the lost by partnering with us. Simply put you and your church should support campus ministries because Jesus and the Scripture tells us to for the sake of the gospel.

Maybe your church already partners with a local college ministry. Or maybe you have no idea where to get started. Regardless, here are four simple ways your church can do Great Commission work on a college campus.

What are some ways that your church can help/partner with a local college ministry?

  1. Give. Supplies, money, time, and talent so that we can have the means to meet needs, open doors, and provide experiences for students. No college ministry has the problem of too much funds, I promise you!
  2. Serve. Contact your local college missionary and ask in what areas they could use some extra hands in. I promise you they will put you to work and have you connecting directly with students. Many ministries serve meals, have outreach events, welcome bags, discipleship opportunities, and mission opportunities etc. that can be used to spread the gospel. Show up, serve a burger, start a conversation about Jesus, and watch what God can do with your faithfulness.
  3. Come to a ball game or event. Many college athletes may not have relatives close by. Coming to their game or an event demonstrates love and support in a way that reflects the love of Jesus. Just this semester, I had a baseball player who is an international student ask me to stand in for his mom on Sophomore Day which is a day for our graduates to honor their parents as they take the next step in their education. That meant the world to him!
  4. Provide rides/ places to stay for international students. Many international students need help to get to places or have no place to go when there are holidays. You can give them a surrogate family for a while, and you’ll get an opportunity to share the gospel practically.

College ministries need you

Missouri Baptists, keep partnering with us. We campus missionaries want and need your support. We want to see the kingdom of God grow on the college campus and beyond. We want to see Gen Z know Jesus, and we can’t do that without your support.

We love the church and want to see God’s kingdom explode in growth through it, and that is why we do what we do. You need us, and we need you.




Equipping You to Make Disciples of Collegians & Young Adults

The Collegiate DiscipleMaker is an online publication providing practical encouragement and disciplemaking tools to those making disciples among college students and young adults. Our weekly articles are theologically rich, biblically grounded, pragmatically applicable, and college ministry oriented.

Our Team

We are people just like you— campus missionaries, ministry wives, young adult pastors, and more—who simply have a passion to make Gen Z disciples on college campuses and beyond.


Austin Pfrimmer (Campus Missionary)

Christina Boatright (Campus Missionary)

Paul Damery (Campus Missionary)

Reese Hammond (Campus Missionary)

Jon Smith (Campus Missionary)

Jerome Stockert (Campus Missionary) 

Karin Yarnell (College Ministry Wife)

Editor in Chief:

Britney Lyn Hamm (College Ministry Wife)