Within just the first week of the Spring Semester beginning at Columbia University last Tuesday, three students died; and at least one of them committed suicide. This fact and all the issues surrounding it elucidates why at Every Nation NYC we want college and graduate students to know they are welcome. Here is why that’s true.

The college campus experience for many undergraduates and grad students could be summarized as a confluence of pressures; academic pressure, social pressure, mental health pressure, parental pressure, financial pressure, and other internal pressures. Far too many students are left without a supportive community to embrace and love them and encourage them in handling these pressures while they pursue their degree.To put it in the words of Jesus, they are like sheep not having a shepherd.

Additionally, these academic institutions of higher learning adhere to a belief that pluralism, self-expression, the pursuit of knowledge, and tolerance, among other values, are what will bring about the salvation of individual students, people groups, and society as a whole. Yet studies show that within these same institutions, students are seeking help for mental health issues at a rate that is five times the growth of enrollment. You can only conclude that these beliefs of the Universities are either not taking hold in the students, or they simply are not true. If the humanistic ideals of the University are not sufficient to help the state of the students within the University what can be done for them? What hope is there for this generation of burdened and distressed students who are trying to figure out life in an environment of confusion?

This is where a gospel believing community of faith like ours comes in. Jesus says that we, His people are the light of the world. To contextualize this statement, we can say that the church is the light for the university community. Every Nation NYC can make a difference in the lives of the NYC students who represent the largest student population in the country.

Here are a few ways how you can be a light to college and grad students:

1.) Welcome Students in our church
This Sunday as we have a Welcome Back moment to recognize and honor college and grad students, make a point to identify who some of the students are, introduce yourself, and make them feel welcome.

2.) Pray for our campus team
Randy & Selene De Los Santos (NYU & West Side Service), Canile Jackson (St. John’s, FIT, Parsons & East Side, PM Service), and Bryan & Becca Scott (Columbia University & Campus Pastors); that God would pour out His Spirit and favor on us to win students to Christ, make many disciples, and train up student leaders within our various NYC campuses.

3.) Pray for more laborers
Pray for more full-time Every Nation Campus laborers to be raised up to help us reach this great population of students in NYC.