By Patrick Scriven

Out of sight, out of mind.

This popular saying is often used to express how easy it is to forget something that isn’t present and in front of us. While this can be a positive phenomenon — like when that piece of cake you shouldn’t eat is hidden by your partner — it can also negatively impact things that matter. Like those young people heading off to college in the Fall.

When we baptize children in The United Methodist Church, the congregation often responds with its own pledge to love and care for the child, to assist the parents, and to provide “facilities and opportunities for Christian nurture and fellowship.” While an 18-year-old is no longer a child, we also know that these years of early young adulthood are often filled with profound spiritual longing and questions as transitions disturb all sorts of norms.

What a profound time for the church to be in ministry!

As some of those young people inevitably move away — moving out of sight — we can do a number of things to make sure they don’t slip out of our minds or beyond the care of our ministry.

One way we honor our congregational pledge is by supporting campus ministries at several schools across the PNW Conference. While we apportion some resources to campus ministry annually, you can take an extra step by reporting where your students are going through this form or by directly contacting the campus ministries at the schools they are attending.

Most campus ministers are eager to make a connection, and students aren’t always proactive in making it themselves. Here is one example I received yesterday that makes the point:

Is there a college student in your congregation that attends Western Washington University? I’m Greg Hartgraves, the Director of College Ministry at Garden Street UMC in Bellingham. Wesley at Western Washington University has been going strong for many years. 

We would like to invite all students to join us on Wednesday Evenings at 6:00 pm at Garden Street UMC for a home-cooked meal and fellowship. If you would send your WWU student(s) contact information, I would like to personally invite them to join us for a fun evening of food, fellowship and discussion.

Grace & Peace,

Greg Hartgraves |

So, if you have students heading to Western Washington this Fall, you know exactly where to point them! But even if they are heading elsewhere, I hope you will take a few moments to help to make the connection. It’s a fantastic way to remember their baptism!

Need more ideas? Resource UMC recently published an article with 13 great ways for you to stay in relationship with college-bound young adults. Not every suggestion would work in every local church but there are some great ideas to consider. Personally, I love the care package (Exam Survival Kit) idea.

Patrick Scriven is a husband who married well, a father of three amazing girls, and a seminary educated layperson working professionally in the church. Scriven serves the Pacific Northwest Conference as Director of Communications and Young People’s Ministries.

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