It’s that time of year again…the sunny days of summer are coming to a close as college students move into dorms and apartments and begin a new season.
I’ve been a college student, I’ve been a friend to many college students, and I’ve watched acquaintances both grow in their faith and lose it as they’ve gone to college.
For those who want to set themselves up for success in their walk with God as they move or move back to college, here’s my best advice, based on what I’ve witnessed and experienced:
Surround yourself with other Christians. It’s more important now than ever! Not only are you in a season of transition, but you’re approaching the age when your brain becomes fully developed and the patterns you choose now are likely to remain in place for the rest of your life. You also tend to be more influenceable than you realize at this age. (I know I was!) It’s not that you have to be in a Christian bubble all the time, but it makes a big difference when you choose to spend the majority of your time with people who strengthen your faith. You become who you hang out with most, so choose wisely. (A sobering thought at any age!)
Read your Bible. Not a radical concept, but a helpful one. Try The Message if you struggle to get through other versions of the Bible. The best thing you can feed your soul with is the Word of God!
Go to church. Every week. I once heard a speaker from Chi Alpha say that 59% of Christians abandon their faith in college if they don’t get plugged into a church within 15 days of starting school. Fifteen days! It’s okay to try different churches until you find a good fit, but choose one that feeds you spiritually and then commit to going regularly.
Listen to your gut. If you feel in your spirit that you shouldn’t do something, don’t! If you feel that nudging from the Holy Spirit to do something, obey it!
Be accountable to godly mentors or, at the very least, fellow Christian peers. It helps to have older, wiser leaders who’ve been where you are to speak into your life and let you know if they see you headed down a questionable path. Don’t just take advice from the people you know will go along with all your ideas; ask for input from those you know will hold you to a higher standard and want the best for you! Even better if you have people around you who are regularly hearing from the Holy Spirit for themselves.
Learn to recognize and hear God’s voice. I believe God is always speaking to every one of us; many of us just haven’t been trained to recognize it! I can’t think of anything more helpful in your journey as a Christian than hearing wise counsel straight from the Source of wisdom. Figure out the ways he speaks to you and devote time to having a two-way dialogue with him on a regular basis. Here are some resources to grow in hearing God’s voice.
The fact that you’re even reading this article probably means you have it in your heart to continue serving God. I applaud you for that and I encourage you to hang on to that desire! I want you to be the exception to the 59%, and if you’re intentional about developing godly habits and relationships that strengthen your faith as you step into this new season, I believe you will be.
Hey! I'm Brianna and I'm a millennial. I'm also a reader, writer, God-lover, introvert, and recovering perfectionist. ☺️
I want to inspire millennials to retain their morality, hope, and faith as they transition into adulthood and full-fledged "adult."