I love this time of year. It’s the time of year when the students in our college ministry return and the excitement in the air is amazing. Though we have college ministry all year long, we lose most of our students over the summer, and then they slowly begin to return from mid-August till the end of September. So our jump start into the new school year, well, it’s really more of a stumbling, stuttering sort of start as we wait for everyone to return.

So I want to welcome everyone back.

When I was interning as the college pastor in 2001 the majority of our students came from UCLA and USC. But over the last few years the dynamics of our group have slowly been changing as the “make-up” of our students has been changing as well.

For example:

The majority of our students are from UCLA. That has always been and probably will always be the case since they are the closest university to our church. Then after UCLA the representation is quite mixed.

There is USC. At one point in the ministry many years ago, USC sat on one side of the chapel and UCLA on the other. That got pretty tense during their rivalry.

The fast growing group in our college ministry is Loyola Marymount University, which has been a great addition. LMU has brought to our ministry a diversity of Protestants and Catholics into the fold.

Then there is Cal State Northridge and Santa Monica College which represent a very small portion of our ministry but are slowly growing.

And then there are the groups that have definitely brought some of the most excitement, talent and diversity to our group. These students come from The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Musicians Institute.

I sometimes stand up in the balcony of our chapel near the end of our Wednesday night fellowship and I watch the students from all these schools interact. It brings me great joy to stand up there and watch all of these students worshipping God, fellowshipping with each other and just sharing life with one another. These students come from different schools, different families and with many different dreams, ideas, beliefs and passions. But on a Wednesday night it is a beautiful sight to watch all of these students interact with one another, knowing that the one thing that brings them all together is Jesus Christ. It is not their schools, or their majors, or the bands they listen to. But it is the unifying presence of Jesus Christ in their midsts. Christ is the only person and the only reason that would bring all these people together from their various schools spread out all over Los Angeles.

As we kickoff this school year and make our way through 2006 and 2007 I will also begin to start posting more seriously, thoughtfully and frequently on college ministry. So stay tuned.