Two weeks ago, I wrote about the need to stay close to God when transitioning out of the home in which you grew up. I suggested that getting involved with a campus ministry at your college would be a good start. But I would hate to see you stop there. To really stay connected to God, you should get involved in a local church.
Most towns big enough to have a college also have many choices when it comes to churches. And many of those churches have special outreaches to college students. I believe that every church should have an outreach to address the unique needs of college students and recent college graduates, even if the church is not in a college town. But that’s off the topic of this post.
The first part of the choosing-a-church decision is deciding if the time and emotional energy spent going off-campus to a church is worth it. Even if you can’t find a church of your particular denomination, I’d say yes. The key is a church that teaches the Bible. The denomination isn’t nearly as important as the teaching.
The second part of finding a church is not to expect perfection. I heard one minister say not to join a perfect church because it won’t be perfect anymore. The music doesn’t have to be just what you like either. Keep in mind that church is about staying connected with God, not feeling good about yourself. Frankly, if you stay connected with God, one of the side effects is you’re on your way to feeling good about yourself.
You may even find yourself worshipping in ways that the church you grew up in did not. That’s not all bad. When I was college age, the group I sang in went to all kinds of churches, and our perspectives were broadened. I value that experience.
Visit some churches. Pray about the choice. Ask others on campus for guidance. But find a church in which to participate.
I should add a caution. Don’t put yourself in dangerous situations. I wish I could say that church is always a safe place, but I can’t. Don’t be going off somewhere by yourself with people you don’t know. Even the best church has people in it who shouldn’t be trusted. Be careful.
What does this have to do with avoiding college debt? That’s easy. As you depend on God to fund your schooling (rather than using debt), you need to stay close to Him. Staying close to God will help you hear His direction for schooling and funds for schooling.
Thanks for reading, and please pass this on to anyone you know who could benefit from reading it.