Ready, Set, Grow!
College is a great place to figure out what you really believe about God and grow in your understanding of him. Here are a few things you can do to help stretch and deepen your faith.
The best way to get to know anyone, including God, is to spend time together. Two great ways to spend time with God are prayer and Bible study. It will be important to actually schedule time with God. You may think you can just have a quiet time when you find a spare moment. But you'll be so busy during college that those spare moments will be hard to find. Deliberately set aside a block of time—even if it's just 10 minutes—each day for devotions.
You've probably been involved in some kind of youth group throughout high school, and those meetings have helped you grow in your faith. The same thing will be true in college, so be sure to find a fellowship group. You might think, "I'll be at a Christian college, so I'll be with Christians everywhere I go. Who needs a 'fellowship' on top of that?" You do. Hanging with Christians in a chemistry class, in the dorm or the cafeteria is not the same as real, live, Spirit-filled fellowship, where you're praising God and learning about him.
Chapel and Church
These overlap the "fellowship" category a little bit, but the big thing here is the idea of "corporate worship"—getting together with a bunch of believers of all ages, singing hymns and praise songs, praying as a congregation, and hearing and responding to the message. You'll have the opportunity to attend campus chapel services one or more times a week, but be sure to also head to a local church on Sunday morning.
While the "fellowship" and "church" categories apply to large groups, you'll also want to find some kind of small group for Bible study, prayer, accountability and just good old friendship. Where do you find a small group? Often, you can find one through the fellowship you join; ask one of the leaders to get you plugged in. You also might find one at the local church you attend; just talk to the college leader about it. Or you and your friends can start one in the dorm.
If possible, find someone who can be your spiritual mentor—a person mature enough in their faith to help you mature in yours. This might be the campus chaplain, a prof, someone at church or an older student. It might be a one-on-one relationship, or perhaps you and a friend or two might find someone to disciple you as a group.
A Christian college offers all sorts of service projects and missions opportunities. But don't just think about the "organized events" when you're looking for opportunities to serve. And don't just think service needs to be extended to non-Christians. If you're a math whiz and your roommate is struggling with math, offer to be a tutor. That's service. If you were a state tennis champ and someone down the hall wants to learn to play, give some free lessons. By keeping your eyes open, you'll find opportunities to serve every day.
What? At a Christian college? Yes. Many Christian colleges admit non-Christians, so there might just be a non-believer down the hall. But even if your campus is exclusively Christian, there's still a community around you. Get involved in that community, and always look for a chance to tell someone about the heavenly hope you have.
Written by Mark Moring
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