About NAMB Contact NAMB
Church Planting resources arranged by topic
Unique people group resources and places in need of churches
College Students Starting Churches
The following strategy focuses on all of North America. It is
not prescriptive, but is designed to set broad parameters for starting
collegiate churches in a variety of contexts. Each local field will
need to address different issues as they seek to discern the best way to start
churches for collegians in their communities. This strategy in no way
diminishes the importance of existing Baptist or non-Baptist collegiate
ministries on college campuses. Instead, this strategy should enhance such
ministries and lead to reaching more college students with the gospel as new
churches are started for non-Christian students.
Today in North America, many college students will never have the opportunity
to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. College students, numbering
approximately 16 million, are one of the most significant and unevangelized
people groups in North America. The battle for the souls of collegians is
growing more desperate each year. Research indicates that more churches
are closing every year than are being started, conversions to other religions
and dropouts from Christianity are escalating. It takes, on average,
85 Christians working an entire year to produce one convert. The collegiate church starting strategy summarized
below is an attempt to address the non-Christians found on North America's
college campuses in light of the declining resolve of many local churches to
enter the collegiate world with the gospel of Christ.
1. Biblical mandate to disciple all ethnos -
2. Biblical models of church planting – Acts
2:40-47, 13:1-4, 14:21-23
3. Primacy of the local church – Ephesians
4. Audience-focused - Acts 1:8
5. Unchanging message – I Corinthians
6. Multiple methods – contextualized per
audience and campus – I Corinthians 9:19-23
7. Joining God where He is at work – John
We see a day when every college student in every community on every campus in
the United States and Canada will have the opportunity to hear the gospel,
respond with faith in Christ, and participate in a New Testament fellowship of
A. Integratethrough intentional partnerships, existing
national, state, associational, campus and local church collegiate strategies
for the purpose of reaching collegians with the gospel.
B. Identifylocal churches interested in planting
collegiate churches and partner with them to implement a collegiate church
planting strategy for their context.
C. Invitecollegians to answer the call to start churches and
equip them with the necessary resources, training, pathways, and mentors to
facilitate collegiate church plants.
Collegiate Church Planting Models
There is no one method for starting churches for every college campus in North
America. Each campus has a unique identity with unique mixtures of
ethnicities and socio-economic strata. A one-size-fits-all approach to
starting churches cannot address the variety of contexts found today on North
American college campuses. Therefore, the collegiate church starting
strategy emphasizes contextualized church starting models. This strategy
does not require new churches meet on the college campus. Instead, a variety of
meeting places are possible. The four models below are suggestive
only, focusing on possible meeting places for the new churches. These four
models also emphasize partnering with existing local churches to start new
churches for collegians.
A. Church within a Church – The local church offers its
facilities for the purpose of housing a collegiate church. The leadership
of the collegiate church works closely with the leadership of the local church
in an intentional collaborative effort.
B. On-Campus Church – The collegiate church meets on the college
campus because the local church partnering with the collegiate church is unable
to house the collegiate church. Meeting on-campus is more strategic for
reaching the targeted students.
C. Off-Campus Church – Because there is neither a local church
able to house the collegiate church nor an area on the college campus to meet,
the collegiate church meets in a site separate from the local church. The
local church is nevertheless working together with the collegiate off-campus
church to facilitate its numeric and spiritual growth.
D. International Collegiate Church – This is either a
multi-cultural church consisting of a variety of ethnic groups or a
mono-cultural church consisting of one ethnic group.
Collegiate Church Planting Team
(This model was developed by John Woodfill and Mike Riggins. It can apply to
either planting a church targeting college students -a collegiate priority
church - or a church plant targeting general population.)
Identify college seniors (or last semester juniors) who are either on a campus
in close proximity to a church-plant location, or are willing to transfer to a
nearby campus. These students would be identified and recommended by
their campus minister or local church pastor.
Students who commit to serving as part of a church plant team for at least 20
hours per week during their senior year(s) would be processed as Mission
Service Corps missionaries. They would attend a MSC Support School &
Orientation and be enabled to raise their financial support (includes both
student-related and living expenses, as well as ministry related
While serving as part of the church planting team, these students would be
discipled by the church planting team leader or other member, and mentored in
developing church planting skills.
Ministry and leadership
skills will be grown as they are mentored, developing and applying their
apostolic skills as part of a church planting team.
calling can be explored in-depth as they are encouraged to understand their own
spiritual S.H.A.P.E. and how God would have them express that as a life mission
of Great Commission work.
Upon graduation, those students continuing on as a part of the team would
be given time following graduation to raise additional support as needed
to reach full budget for on-going ministry involvement.
Following their second year as part of the church planting team, many of these
"student church planters" would continue to be involved in this particular
church community. Others would be candidates to join, or even lead,
another church planting team in a new location.
Identified leaders should be invited to Basic
Training during their second year.
They can begin discipling/mentoring others,
particularly seniors, who join the team.
Even for those who choose not to continue as part
of this or another church planting team, many would have the desire and
developed skills to remain active in lifestyle, if not vocational, ministry and
could serve as a grassroots recruiting force.
 Tom Clegg and Warren
Bird, Lost in America (Loveland, CO: Group, 2001), 27-30.
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2010 North American Mission Board, SBC