Today's parents must be able to arm their young adult children with the proper tools to ensure they keep their faith throughout their formative college years.
Many consider college as a turning point in life where young adults officially enter the "real world" and for good reason. Going off to college sometimes means moving out of one's parents' homes and going at it on their own. It can also mean having to become independent at a young age and having to meet new people, learn new things, and adapt new ideologies. Some experts believe that when young adults enter college, their faith suddenly comes under attack.
Take for example author J. Budziszewski, writer of "How to Stay Christian in College," who argued that, "From the moment students set foot on the contemporary campus, their Christian convictions and discipline are assaulted."
Budziszewski believes that, "Colleges and universities are magnets for extreme beliefs, ideologies and cults," the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association or BGEA reported. In fact, Christian young adults can have their faith tested throughout their college years in ways they have not previously thought about. BGEA's advice is to understand the "hidden spiritual darkness" to be able to stay on course and even grow their faith exponentially throughout the college years.
Similarly, Focus on the Family believes that college-bound young adults and their Christian faith "have never been more threatened." It reported on many "anecdotes of how universities employ faculty committed to the destruction of your child's Christian faith." Across many colleges and universities today, there is an opposition to Christianity, which is why many Christian students' faith are now "threatened."
But parents and other adults now have the tools to help young adults navigate the tricky years of college and ensure that they remain faithful Christians throughout it. Here are some ways on how to help young adults keep their faith in college.
1. Seek out like-minded persons or groups or people who share the same faith.
Making it through the first year of college can be tough and challenging, but it could be easier when a Christian young adult finds his or her footing with like-minded students or people of the same faith. The college years are crucial for young adults, especially Christians as more than two thirds or 66% of young adults stop attending church between the ages of 18 to 22, the very same years they usually attend college.
When asked about the main reason why they leave church, 34% said it was mainly because they moved to college. Meanwhile, 32% said they observed a "consistent theme of hypocrisy or judgment from church members." It is important that young adults entering college would find new peers in church groups or campus ministries where they could further develop their faith throughout college.
2. Maintain a daily spiritual routine.
Entering college will require young adults to adopt new daily routines. College is often busy and demanding of one's time and it is most likely that they would forget or won't have time to worship. Young adults can keep their faith in college by starting their day with God. A short prayer can help center them and keep them focused on their faith throughout the day despite the academic demands of college.
It's also best to create a daily spiritual routine that involves spending time with God, praying, reading Scripture and reflecting on it. It is all about time management when it comes to keeping one's faith in college.
3. Stay away from people who bring out the worst in others or bring other people down.
The good news for young adults who want to keep their faith in college is that Scripture has good advice for making new friends. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, "Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.'" Reflecting on this passage, one will realize that "bad company" can come in the form of students who have extreme views or people in the campus who have values that are not Christian-like.
The GCU blog suggests, "Distance yourself from the people that make you feel bad about yourself or your faith."
4. Seek out other Christians even before stepping on campus.
The Internet has made it easier to connect with people no matter how near or far they are. Now, it can also help Christian young adults connect with others like them even before they go to college. Websites like Every Student Sent allows Christian young adults to connect with local churches and ministries at their future school through a unique social media platform that enables them to communicate with other Christians, find a roommate, and make new friends even before they arrive on campus.
5. Be confident in faith.
Conversations with classmates or classroom debates can make a Christian young adult doubt his or her faith. But they must not be afraid to face hard questions in a public setting. Be confident in faith and what is true and revert back to Scripture for guidance and support when needed.
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