Thursday, September 8, 2016

20/20 About the Class of 2020

I was at a ministry and job fair for the kids entering Emmaus Bible College working a booth for our church along with another Emmaus alumna, although she had graduated approximately 30 years after I did. She looked at the incoming freshmen and said, "I'm not old enough to say this, but they look so young!" I had to laugh. My husband and I had just been commenting a few days before on how young the new students look.

But today I looked up The Mindset List that Beloit College puts out every year to help us understand the new college students' way of looking at the world. Warning: this list may make you feel old. Here are some of the observations they made about the class that will graduate in 2020:

  • Among those who have never been alive in their lifetime are Frank Sinatra, Tammy Wynette, Shari Lewis, Sonny Bono, and Flo-Jo.
  • There has always been a digital swap meet called eBay.
  • Vladimir Putin has always been calling the shots at the Kremlin.
  • There has never been a German Mark or a French Franc.
  • The year they were born India and Pakistan became nuclear powers.
  • Emails are old school; better text them if you want a response.
  • X-rays have always been digitalized and immediately readable.
  • A Bush and a Clinton have always been campaigning for something big.
  • Snowboarding has always been an Olympic Sport
  • John Elway and Wayne Gretzky have always been retired.
  • They have never seen a billboard ad for cigarettes.
  • Airline tickets have always been purchased online.
  • Instant tray-less ice cubes have never been a novelty
  • Newt who?
  • Michael J. Fox has always spoken publicly about having Parkinson's disease
Some I found even more disturbing from previous years were:
  • The Biblical sources of terms such as “Forbidden Fruit,” “The writing on the wall,” “Good Samaritan,” and “The Promised Land” are unknown to most of them.
  • Billy Graham is as familiar to them as Otto Graham was to their parents. (If you are asking, "Otto who?"...that's the point.)
  • They have access to unlimited information, but are unable to enjoy a social event without their phone.
  • They don't have to leave their room to see "dirty pictures."
And not on the Beloit list, but a sad statistic I found elsewhere:
  • As many as 3 out of 4 college freshmen from Christian homes who go to secular universities will not continue to attend church on a regular basis...ever again.

And this is why you should be proactive about college students. How?
  1. Pray for those you know going away to college.
  2. Write to them, maybe send a care package. You don't need to give them a sermon, just some news from home, and an "I'm praying for you."
  3. Look for students on the college campuses near you.
  4. Find out if the college has a "job fair" or "community information" booth. Get in there and be outgoing and welcoming. Have some info about your church including where it is and even offer rides if people need them. Believe me, when I do this, even though it is at a Christian college, it is hard to constantly try to "sell" my church to these kids because that's just not my personality. But every contact helps.
  5. If parents dropping off their child bring them to your church to visit, walk up and say "hi". Get to know the student and get their phone number. Invite them to church and for lunch afterward along with a few people in their age range.
  6. When the students show up, go out of your way to be welcoming, help them find the coffee bar, explain the schedule of meetings. Ask if they need any furniture for their dorm and find out if anyone has any to give away.
We recently housed a married couple from India who have come to study for two years. They were with us for 10 days until their apartment became available. Then we put out word on our church email list of the furniture they needed. My husband helped them go all over town picking things up. I took them shopping. And we had people they might click with over for dinner. Another of those families had them to their house for a meal. 

Last Sunday a group of students were at our house for lunch including this couple and they were discussing where they might make their home church for the school year. Someone asked Godly (yes, that's the husband's name) where they would be attending and he said, "I guess this one!" We had won him over.

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  1. Interesting things to ponder here. I'm only 35, but even I notice from the list you share how much has changed. One thing I think we could do to help is encouraging our churches to enlist young people in missions, locally or abroad, in the church or outside it. Interestingly I looked into the Hebrew roots of train up a child and it turns out it is actually meant to speak of an adolescent and celebrating their release into God's calling upon their life: it is about dedicating and sending them off into the LORD's service. I can tell you that as a teenager I did not experience this. I was sent off to study at university, but not once invited to participate in any kind of missions work or even encouraged to do so. If you look at true discipleship it involves a new believer immediately being commissioned to bring the Good News to others: because this is how we grow, seeing God's power at work.

    1. That's a great idea, Anna! I had lots of encouragement to reach out and I was especially interested in overseas missions, which I have lived out the last 32 years! I'm all for it!

  2. Wow. I feel old, but then since I'm a new mom who is mostly surrounded by moms 20 years younger than me, I'm always feeling like this anyway. It's crazy to think how much has changed just in the time computers have been out - I still remember home computers "coming out" that people could actually buy!

    1. I try to explain to my kids how it was typing my term papers on a typewriter and they don't get it! Computers have really changed life!

  3. That's an amazing list. Certainly, some are just humorous, but as you pointed out, some are heartbreaking. I'll be sharing and pinning your timely post. Donna



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