My family and I recently purchased a new car. In the first few weeks of purchasing our car we began to have some issues—one of them being that the car was out of alignment. Lack of alignment can cause cars to work harder, causing the car to burn more fuel. We knew that we quickly needed to get our car fixed to prevent our brand new car from failing to function the way it was designed to function. Just like my brand new car needed alignment, I believe the local church can provide the needed alignment for college students to flourish and thrive while they are in college.
There are many questions college students have when they step onto a college campus, the majority of which revolve around identity and purpose. They are hungry to find out who they are and what they are called to do. Many college students come to campus in hopes to make a difference and to choose a career path that will set them up for a life of success and fulfillment. Often this means that college students will jump from organization to organization, activity to activity, or club to club seeking to find purpose, identity, and fulfillment.
There are numerous ways that college students will try and find alignment. However, I think the best way for college students to find the alignment they need and are looking for will be in the local church. Before they join a hundred different clubs or organizations (as one of my friends did) looking for fulfillment, parents, youth pastors, and church leaders should strongly encourage them to prioritize looking for a local church to join.
Holistic Mentorship And Membership
2 Timothy 2:2; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:17
The local church provides college students with various means of discipleship. It is a given that many college students will find community with other college students, but one of the great benefits of joining a local church is being able to find older mentors in the church who can walk with them while they are in college. These kinds of mentorship relationships in the context of the local church give students the opportunity to glean from people who have walked the same paths they are currently on. Mentorship and membership in a local church will help college students connect to older leaders and members in the church who can give them wisdom about life, relationships, and future decisions.
Pastors and other church leaders have been given to us as a gift by God to care for our souls and lives. College students shouldn’t miss out the gift of care and being known by older mature leaders. The local church is a sea of wisdom and experiences that they would be hard pressed to find elsewhere. Encourage college students to not limit their access to sound wisdom and counsel by just surrounding themselves with their peers. Instead, they should seek out wise counsel from older members and Christians who can help, correct, and guide them on paths that they have already traveled on.
Mentorship will also help connect students to a broader vision of mission. Being mentored by older members of the church will help them connect their passions, giftings, and careers to the kingdom of God because all of their lives will be brought into their mentoring or discipling relationship with their mentors. They will connect with people from the local church who are leveraging their own lives for the sake of advancing the kingdom of God on earth and who have a high value for the local church.
Imagine the great benefit of not only having community with those in your same age group but also being able to connect with older people in the church who may be in the same career that you are pursuing while in college. This is where faith, work, and passions can collide for the advancement of the kingdom of God.
Ephesians 4:12; Matthew 28:19-20; Colossians 3:23-24; Ephesians 2:10
What is my purpose? Why am I here? College students have been asking these two questions for decades. Being connected to the local church may help to answer these two age-old questions. The beautiful thing about the local church is that it is not only a place where people can come to learn and grow, but it is also a place where people can come to serve and steward their gifts and passions for the kingdom of God. The local church isn’t a place where passions and gifts die, but where they come alive and flourish for the sake of building up the church and loving our neighbors.
The local church is a great place to connect our faith and calling to our vocations and careers. There are gifts and abilities that college students have that can bless local churches. Often, college students look for churches that will bless them or suit their own desires and comforts. What if college students instead sought out churches who were in need of their giftings, talents, and passions?
College students, hear me when I say this: The local church down the street from your campus needs and wants you.There are a variety of ways you can bless and serve the local church and consequently the community. As followers of Jesus we have many callings, whether those callings revolve around relationships, work, or our academics, but one calling we must never forget is the calling we have to build up the church with our good works that will ultimately play a role in advancing the gospel to our neighbors and to the nations for God’s glory.