College ministries work together to address high Christian dropout rate

Faith-based campus ministries in the U.S. have joined forces in an effort to reverse the trend of Christian teens drifting away from their faith when transitioning to college and to hopefully double the population of Christian freshmen.

(REUTERS / Bret Hartman)Students walk through campus between classes at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, California April 4, 2012.

According to Campus Renewal, around 70 percent of Christian teens who go to college end up dropping their faith within their first year. The Navigators, another college ministry, found that it was important for Christian organizations to connect with students before they start their classes or within their first 72 hours in campus, Christian Broadcasting Network detailed.

In an interview with Christian Today, New Wine's Discipleship Year program director Chris Fox noted an ongoing crisis among Christian adults. He said only 3 percent of these believers have taken part in church activities and there was a shortage of people who follow Jesus. However, Christian internships are helping address this problem.

Fox said the trend of young Christian adults leaving their church has been going on the past century. Like Campus Renewal, he noted that the turning points were usually the transition to college and transition to work.

Campus Renewal has launched a new online tool called Campus Ministry Link which will link graduating high school students to college ministries and campus churches. This tool will also provide Christian freshmen with the materials they need to share their faith with non-believers.

"The harvest is plentiful at universities, but the laborers have been too few," said Campus Ministry Link partnership director John Decker.

"This tool will make it normal for students to prepare as high school juniors and seniors and experience growing in community and reaching other freshmen," he explained. "College movements will be fueled, freshmen will return for Christmas to energize church youth groups, and many more will be discipled to change our nation and the world."

So far, 12 of the biggest campus ministries including Cru, Chi Alpha, and Young Life College have joined in Campus Renewal's new project. The group's president and founder Jeremy Story is pleased with the response and commitment of college ministries to their movement and expressed hope that the project will create a positive change in America.