This One's On Me
As a staff member with the college-age ministry at Elmbrook Church I’m often asked, “What do you actually do?” I used to dread that question because I didn’t think I had a good enough answer. Now, two and a half years into my role, I no longer shy away from my answer. “I take college-age adults out for coffee.”
I submitted my life to Jesus when I was 18 years old, just entering college. Then I was loved into the Kingdom of God through the college-age ministry at Elmbrook. New friends I met there were a part of my story, but some of my biggest influences were adults who genuinely cared about me, helped me know my story and the importance of sharing it with others.
I can’t even count how many of those discipleship conversations took place in a coffee shop. Adults involved with the college ministry simply wanted to know who I was, what inspired me, how my walk with Jesus was going and how they could pray for me. I had never experienced what it was like to have someone literally take time out of their day to sit down and “hear my heart.” I will hold those conversations with me forever because each one helped me to discover my worth in the eyes of our Father.
During that time, John encouraged me to tell my story even though I had been a follower of Jesus for less than a year. After listening to my heart’s joys and struggles, he gave me a book he was reading. He marked a page with a simple note, “this made me think of you.” It pointed to a section that said my story was important because I lived it out, not because of the biblical knowledge that I had (or lack of it!). What an encouragement! A few weeks later I was asked to share my testimony. I realized our chats over coffee and John asking simple questions helped me know my story and prepared me to share it with others. It was incredible to tell my faith story in a room full of peers!
Another adult, Ashlyn, helped me learn what it meant to dig into Scripture and know my Everlasting Father. She sat with me as I read through my very first book of the Bible, the Gospel of Mark. Ashlyn asked me questions and helped me learn to be curious again. She helped me discover my own relationship with Jesus instead of wanting to conform to what hers looked like.
My relationship with the Lord flourished in college as I was part of this community of believers. Throughout my four years in school, I became a student leader in the ministry, which led me to where I am now – on staff full time. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine myself working at a church and having the opportunity to build relationships with college-age adults, over a cup of coffee.
So why is my job important? When it comes to faith and spiritual growth, many college and 20-something age adults seem to be in a black hole of no return. However, as I learned through my own experience, the way to continue showing Christ’s love to college students and 20-somethings is to help them discover their own faith story in this transitional time. How do you do that? Listen to their hearts.
I invite you to sit across the table from a college student over a cup of coffee and listen to their struggles, hear what they’re passionate about and how the Spirit is moving in their lives. Put aside any assumptions you may have, get to know them and hear their story. Your picture of God will become even bigger by hearing how He’s working in their lives.
The college-age ministry at Elmbrook needs women like you to sit across the table from the adults in our ministry. If you have a heart for the college-age population please email Lauren at so that we can find the best place for your story and your gifts to be used for His Kingdom.