Cookies. Care packages. College Students. Campus Ministry.
Blended together, those four ingredients can create one awesome outreach.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I love ministry to college students. College is a formative time of life, when young men and women are searching to take ownership of their relationship with the Divine. It can also be a lonely, disorienting time where familiar speeds away with the disappearance of their parents’ car and they are left to figure life out on their own – whether it’s what to eat, when to go to bed, what classes to sign up for next spring, or who or what to believe.
What says the familiar more than a batch of homemade cookies or a homemade meal? My campus ministry friends Jill Vogel (who gave me this awesome recipe for her version of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies) and Barry Reed, ministry director of Campus Students for Christ “get it.’
So do the ladies at the Roseville Christian Church who worked hard one week to make 1,000 cookies so Barry could distribute cookies at five various campus locations to university students throughout the week. It’s not just about the cookies. All of us prayed that a cookie would lead to a meaningful conversation, talks that delved into who and what to believe in.
It worked. At one cookie table, one student paused to ask, “Who are you and why are you doing this?” He was hungry for more than cookies. He came to a meeting. And then another. He gave his life to Christ. Within the year, he was involved in student leadership in the campus ministry program.
This particular recipe for chocolate chip cookies became Jill’s signature in her work with a campus ministry at The Ohio State University. Her cookies were sure to show up at most any event the campus ministry hosted. Several times, Jill invited young women to her home to make cookies, then would use the time to teach her secret tricks in making them the best ever cookies. Jill has a natural instinct for drifting the talk into deeper spiritual matters. We grew to love and honor this sweet servant of God who exhibited wisdom beyond her years.
How can you start a conversation about Jesus? Start with a cookie, do a lot of praying, and see where it leads.
Jill’s Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 2 1/2 cups regular oats
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 sticks butter (1 cup)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
- 12 ounces chocolate chips
- Grind oats in a blender or food processor until part of the oats look like a coarse flour. Mix ground oatmeal with flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix sugars, eggs, butter and vanilla. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; blend well. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
- Drop by spoonfuls on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes. The co okies will take longer to cook if you use parchment paper. If not, watch carefully to not overcook. How quickly the cookies cook depends on your oven and your cookie sheets. Take out of the oven just before they are done and let them set 3 minutes on the pan before removing to a wire rack.