Nov 20, 2017


The November/December Dip

Austin Wadlow provides encouragement for collegiate leaders whose ministries see a dip in involvement as winter comes and finals week looms.

Last night as I had a conversation with someone after our weekly college worship gathering, this verse was laid strongly on my heart:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10, ESV)

Satan’s desire is to literally ruin our lives. One of his number one tactics is to lure us into isolation. He knows that when we are isolated, he can have his way with us because there is nobody there to pick us up, share the burden, encourage us, speak truth into our lives and give us perspective.

Every year at this point in the semester, as the homework load gets heavy and students get tired, I see this happen. Satan uses our students’ fatigue and busyness to lure them away from community and into isolation. I think this is why November and December are rarely strong months for college ministry. As a result, so many students begin to struggle with so many things (anxiety, fear, suicidal thoughts, poor self-image, pornography, addictions, etc…). My tendency as a college pastor is to throw my hands up and get frustrated at my students for being lazy and uncommitted.

I want to challenge my fellow collegiate leaders to not respond this way. Instead, see what’s really happening and fight back for the souls of your students! Satan is on the prowl and he has one mission: steal, kill and destroy. We work so hard to reach college students because we believe that reaching college students is the most strategic thing we can do if we want to see God’s kingdom explode all over this planet. Satan is no different! He works so hard to destroy college students because he knows that destroying college students is the most strategic thing he can do if he wants to keep God’s kingdom from growing.

Instead of throwing your hands up in frustration at your students for being lazy and uncommitted, realize that they are in the midst of an epic life or death battle, and most of them don’t even realize it! Stop being frustrated and fight back!

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the… sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” (Ephesians 6:12-18, ESV)

Here are two ways we can fight back for the souls of our students:

  1. Fight back with the Truth. Our tendency this time of year is to revert to gimmicks and tricks to get people to show up at our events. If our battle is against students being lazy and uncommitted, then maybe that would work, but that’s not what our battle is against. Our battle is against Satan who is trying to steal, kill and destroy. Gimmicks won’t beat Satan, but the Truth will.
  2. Fight back with prayer. Our tendency after a low attendance night at our weekly worship gathering is to go home and use Netflix to help us forget about how frustrated we are. Instead of throwing up our hands in frustration, we need to fight back on our knees in prayer. Satan is trying to steal, kill and destroy. His most effective tactic is to isolate our students. When our students are isolated, pinned down by enemy fire, they need us to call in air support.

I’m writing this for the sake of our students, but I’m also writing this for the sake of your soul as a collegiate leader. Don’t be discouraged by the November/December dip in numbers. Instead, be inspired to fight back!

And don’t forget…

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10, ESV)

Satan’s trying to destroy you, too. Luring college students into isolation is one of his most effective tactics, not only because it hurts our students, it hurts us too. He knows how much the November/December dip messes with our souls. Don’t let him rob you of your joy of doing ministry.

Fight back!

about the author

Austin Wadlow

Austin Wadlow serves as the Salt Company director and teaching pastor at Keystone Church in Ankeny, IA.