At the end of last school year, Bethel Christian Reformed Church in Newmarket, Ontario, invited college-bound students and their parents to “Christianity on Campus.”
The goal of the event was to better equip and inform students about faith and lifestyle challenges associated with campus life and to introduce them to campus ministry.
Jason Postma, director of youth and family programs for Bethel, invited five other churches from Classis Toronto as well.
Ministry Associate Shiao Chong, campus pastor for York University in Toronto, spoke about how students grow and how they can lose their faith. Afterward there was a time for questions and discussion.
Ministry Associate Shiao Chong talks to college-bound students.
Participants raised some tough questions, such as “How well are our youth ministry programs preparing our students for university and real life?”
Postma first thought of organizing an event like this when he began seeing statistics about how many students walk away from their faith upon arriving at university. He hopes to offer the event annually.
“We are facilitating a dialogue to bridge the gap between campus ministry and church youth programs,” he said.
Postma said some participants felt that it’s time to have a discussion on how we do youth ministry in the CRC. “Perhaps we are helping to form good CRC members in our youth programs, but do we equip them to face people of other faiths?” he said.
Attendees found the event helpful. Henry Lise said, “I was impressed by the commitment of the youth pastors to being involved in the lives of young people and presenting the gospel in a holistic way.”