Dave Short

Chicago, Illinois

National director of Alpha for Campus, part of the Alpha Course




How to Become a Student Friendly Church

Here are a few suggestions on how to become a student friendly church: 

  1. Understand where the mandate lies
    • Great commission to make disciples given to the church
    • There's no plan “B”
  2. Respond to the situation, not to other churches or campus groups
    • Understand that there are massive needs in studentdom and every church must respond
    • Take time to walk and pray over the campus
  3. Find a way to connect with students
    • Get on campus when you can; hangout where students gather
    • Take a class on campus
    • Ask the college if your church can participate in any student “orientations.” Love your campus.
    • Develop relational links with and go visit other on campus groups (even non-Christians)
  4. Gather and release a set of key students
    • Find the right oversight structure and release the students to impact their culture. The Alpha Course is a perfect resource. 
    • They can go where you cannot
    • Invest in a few and they will attract more
    • Student leadership will make growth happen; recognize and promote them.
    • You can invest through: 1-on-1 mentoring, public recognition, connecting students with a host family, etc.
  5. Find a missional structure that works
    • Understand that these are three to four years of unparalleled opportunity
    • Students gravitate to missional structures; make your decisions missionally
    • Students are the best at reaching other students
    • Student-led cells are the best model we have found to do this
  6. Don’t overload your students
    • Students that are the most effective in outreach are ones not fully stuck in Christian meetings and swallowed into church culture.

Who better to understand the problems that students face than students themselves? They are in the environment of the people group we are trying to reach! They are gathered for a moment, scattered for a lifetime. Love them, release them and empower them to make a difference in their university years.