I recently read some startling statistics in a campus ministry journal that underscores why the ministry we offer through campus ministries is so important. According to some reports, three out of every five teens in a typical church walk away from the church in the next 10 to 15 years. (Enrichment Journal 10/08 as reported in the January 2009 issue of Mission America Coalition Update.)

This data begs the larger question as to why teens are leaving the church at all, but the important fact to realize is that, while many are walking out of the doors of the church, they are, at the same time, walking through the doors of the university.

I was in a recent meeting with students discussing the need for a prayer room to be created on the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne campus. One of the students remarked that the university has an obligation to provide a place where students can cultivate their faith; a university that does not pay attention to the spirituality of its students is serving only part of their nature and doing them a real disservice.

A recent poll conducted by George Barna indicated that three-fourths of students surveyed say their faith is becoming more and more important to them as a guide for moral decision-making. At the same time, more than half of all adults interviewed said that Christianity is not the default choice for their spiritual path. Sixty-four percent of evangelical Christians agreed that Christianity is not the automatic religious alternative people choose as it may have been in the past.

If all these statistics are true, campus ministries stand at the crossroads of our young people’s lives, offering them a real, compassionate and relational opportunity to test the claims of Jesus for validity. With your help, we can stand beside the road, offering love and refreshment to college-age youth, and declaring, “Jesus is the Way” (John 14:6) – follow Him down this path to purpose and fulfillment.

Thank you for helping to keep us on our local campuses – we want to be here; we need to be here.

Dr. Ben Gates serves as a campus minister for the Campus Ministry of Greater Fort Wayne.

Campus ministries stand at the crossroads of our young people’s lives.