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College students' church attendance declining

Lawton_A new survey says that the number of college students who never attend church services doubles between their freshman and junior year.  Churches abound locally, but despite that, some say that a separation from family could cause college students to feel apathetic toward religious worship.  Some students may forgo early services because of early morning classes.  Others simply have a lack of interest.  One minister is bucking the trend by using students' talents to keep them involved.

Jenny Wynn is a reverend at the Cameron Campus Ministry.  She says that going to church helps some students get through the stress of school - but, each college student is looking for something different.  "[For instance] ‘I need prayers,'" said Wynn.  "'I've got a chemistry test that's coming up, and I'm not sure I'm gonna get through it.'"

Students such as David Faires express their talents at church.  He sings during worship service.  "That's what really brought me here," he said.  "The couches and the TV kept me coming back."  Randy Mihalik likes to get involved in the church.  "There are several people here that just started showing up," he said.  "They showed up pretty consistently and we gave them a job to do.  Like, whenever we're in worship they'd have to push the button to go to the next verse, or help move chairs whenever we're done."

Music is what David appreciates most about worship service.  "I'm not sure I'd be good at a whole lot else," he said.  "Music has always been an outlet for my spiritual growth and communication."  His advice about finding a church to attend?  "I would tell them find somewhere that fits their needs," he said.  "If their need is a very organized worship.  Find a place with an organized worship.  If their need is, ‘I need it to be upbeat, uplifting,' find a place that's like that - don't settle for not going."

The Cameron Campus Ministry offers a free lunch for college students on Thursdays at noon.  "Loaves and Fishes" is a free lunch program prepared by people in the community.  The survey also said that many students are also heavily influenced by their peers, and researchers say that the biggest cause for low college church attendance was separation from family.
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