How to Attract the Best College Talent
This sounds like you are recruiting new employees or customers to your company, but the reality is that many of the same principles draw college students to churches. Afterall, why market Gerotol and denture adhesive to college students? Those products have no interest to college students. Those products aren't even on the college student's radar. It is not a real need or a felt need. Churches need to focus on college students like they would if they wanted to attract college students to their new business--what are their tastes, appetites, and what draws them. Yet, so many churches only have one entre...take it or leave it. So, what do college students need in a church? That question must be answered by each church. However, there are several general needs that are true for most college students looking for a church. They want to know they are wanted. For most people, this means concessions have been made to include them in the life of the church. It means enough thought has been given to not only minister to college students, but to get them involved in ministry and serving. When my wife and I were in college we had little money, but tithed anyway. But more importantly, we taught a 2 year old Sunday School class and sang in the choir on Sunday morning. We taught a 7th grade discipleship group on Sunday night. We led a group of elementary age boys on Wednesday night. We offered alot of energy and talent to the church. College student don't want to sit and soak.
College students also want mentoring relationships and to connect with seasoned professionals in their field of study. They also want to connect with older couples that can offer advice on relationships, marriage, and raising children. Yes, it goes that deep. Many college students welcome inter-generational relationships at church.
Many churches have on-campus ministries, where they focus their resources and efforts, but being on campus isn't enough. To build a ministry with college students you need to get your story out there. Use language that Millennials relate to, and go where they students are (which is often not at college) - go online. Invest in a visually appealing, easily accessible, content-rich site where students can go to learn about yor church and ministry. Showcase the right alums, experiences, and basic message you want to deliver. You can also engage through social media. Look at grads' specific interestes, who they follow, what they're talking about, etc. Most college and young adult online communities don't like being marketed to, so be authentic, offer college students value, and be cautious of blatant self-promotion.