Perhaps you’ve heard it before; more and more young Christians are abandoning their faith while they are in college. Faced with new-found independence, an overtly sexualized environment, and an intellectual climate often antithetical to Christianity, the odds seem insurmountable for any Christian student going off to college. But, I bring good news; they can survive, and better yet they can thrive. So how can they do more than just survive?
1) Preparation is Important
Before entering college you should ensure that you are in a close relationship with God. If your faith is not strong, there is a strong possibility that it will be demolished altogether while in college. Your entire life up to this point should have been a preparation, but I want to focus more on the high school years. Are you actively going to church? Are you serving? Are you attending a youth group if one is around? These are some good questions to ask while you still have time. However, don’t think that these activities can save you; only Jesus can do that.
2) Read Up!
College is a time of much reading. Do not fall into the trap of only reading the college material, though. I know that time may seem scarce, but if you really assessed how you spent your time during each day, I’m willing to bet there some spare minutes or hours where you can read some book on how to defend your faith, the Bible, and other materials that will help you understand things that you’re learning in your classes. Often times, Christian students feel intimidated by professors who have differing views. After all, how can a student go against someone with a Ph.D? Please, do yourself a favor and find time to read up on Christian Apologetics and related fields!
3) Pray Up!
If you’re a Christian, than you believe that prayer can change things. What better way to thrive in college than by going to the source of your growth? There is a subtle trap of being “too busy” while in college to pray. Watch out for those traps, because they are seldom ever true. As a college student who has gone to school full-time and has worked full-time for the last four years, I can attest to the fact that we’re often not as busy as we say. We get caught up with the three f’s – friends, facebook, and fraternities. If you truly are that busy, then it’s all the more reason to pray!
Find a like-minded community on campus. The book of Proverbs warns us of the danger of hanging around the wrong crowd, so be sure to find other Christians on campus who know what you’re going through. Don’t know where to start? Search your schools website for any clubs and organizations like Campus Crusade for Christ and other Bible-based groups. They’ll often meet weekly, do bible-studies, have some hang-outs, etc. Surrounding yourself with wise Christian friends that will be praying for you and keeping you accountable can be such a blessing for the next 4 years of your life.
5) Attend a Church
If you’re too far away to go to your home church, prayerfully consider going to an accessible church in your area. As I said earlier, community is so important and churches can expand upon that in ways that a campus ministry cannot. Find a church that teaches through the Bible faithfully and you will start to see yourself grow in your faith.
So there you have it. These tips are nothing knew and they are certainly not mind-blowing by any means. Nonetheless, these are helpful pointers that can change your time at college. As a senior preparing for graduation, I am a living witness that it is more than possible to do more than just survive as a Christian in college; God never calls us to merely survive, he wants us to thrive wherever we are.