Hi. My name is Jen and I was a church drop-out. (Everybody now: "Hi Jen.")
I never recognized this fact until today. I was on the tail end of a 2-day collegiate fall planning meeting and we were talking about a recent study concerning the reasons why people 18-22 drop out of church. In the middle of that data fest (that I truly enjoyed, I might add), I discovered that I once met the criteria to be defined as a church dropout. And here I am, now ministering through an institution I once eschewed. Is that ironic?
Once I got over the initial shock of it all, I began to press into processing the richness of what God might want to teach me in this. Some big questions rose to the surface: what differentiates the church from on-campus/parachurch ministries; do college students really desire to seek community from the church (is that a motivating factor for them to attend); and, essentially, what is church?
These are questions that will not be answered in a matter of minutes or days. There's a lot of prayer and reading that will be put into these first things. But seriously, isn't this something that must be done before moving forward? This is the beginnings of a philosophy of ministry.
Dang. That's scary.