Many students are experiencing their first time away from home when they go to college. This usually involves a challenge to their faith. A wise acquaintance told me that most students need to make the transition from the faith of their parents to their own faith early in their college career. He also added that some don’t make it. That’s not a good thing.
Little do many college students realize how important a grounding in faith is as they move away from their “nests” and into the real world. It’s such a waste when a student lacking discernment makes a bad choice and hurts themselves or someone else in a manner that has life-long negative consequences. A good solid faith can help keep a student from making life-destroying decisions. Read the 1st chapter of the Bible book of Proverbs.
The key to keeping a grounding in faith is to connect with other people of faith on or around the college campus. As a Christian, I would look for other Christians on campus, or a good church off-campus, to connect and get support. Even on the most secular of college campuses, there are ways to maintain a sustainable level of faith. I’ll elaborate on some choices below.
If you are on a Christian college campus, there is usually a department of the college that will help you stay connected with your faith. It’s usually headed up by a staff member identified as “Chaplain.” It’s a good place to start to make connections.
This might also be the right place to start looking if you are at a church-based college. However, you have to keep in mind that church-based doesn’t always mean spiritually strong Christian. It would be worth investigating what is being taught in that department and what kinds of activities are offered. Checking the doctrinal statement is also a good idea.
The other on-campus option would be campus ministries like Cru, Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), the Navigators, Intervarsity, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), or the like. I would encourage your involvement. These provide fellowship, Bible study, activities, food, and fun. These are all good ministries, but they are not church as defined in the New Testament. Even a ministry department of a college is not a church.
What does this have to do with avoiding college debt? That’s easy. As you depend on God to fund your schooling (rather than debt), you need to stay close to Him. Staying close to God will help you hear His direction for schooling and funds for schooling.
In an upcoming week, I will add thoughts on finding a good off-campus church and reasons why you may want to do that. The best education you can get is worth less than nothing if it costs you your faith (Mark 8:36). Don’t sell your soul for an education. Thanks for reading, and please pass this on to anyone you know who would benefit from reading it.