Whether you are just starting college, just starting life after college, or just trying to get started at all there are some things every Christian can and should benefit from. One of those things, as annoying or dull as they may appear, is others who profess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Christian fellowship often gets a bad rap, particularly among college students. It conjures up images of socially awkward people sitting cross legged, playing Bible Trivia, and strumming out of tune guitars late into the evening. Inevitably some joker tries to convince everyone he’s brought along a six-pack when in fact it’s only root beer. After all the “craziness” settles down someone turns on a lava lamp and a discussion of the spiritual themes of The Lord of the Rings trilogy ensues, lasting into the wee hours of the morning. But you can do much better than this.
If you are in college you pretty much have it made. In fact as a college student you are more likely to be overwhelmed by the variety of opportunities for Christian fellowship presented to you than bored by them. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Campus Crusade (a.k.a. “Cru”), Campus Outreach, YoungLife, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes are just a few of the larger, more well-known organizations vying for your attention. Of course the issue is that just about everything and everyone else is also vying for your attention, thus it’s tempting to forgo the further development and nurturing of your faith.
On the other hand if you are studying at a community college, in a non-traditional program of study, or not in college at all you may find yourself in a barren wasteland where the scenario described at the beginning of this article actually sounds appealing! Gone are all the trendy campus groups and ministries you enjoyed in high school and/or college. Either that or everyone else already has an established pattern and finding a place where you can break in is hard work. For very different reasons than you face in college making the effort to find a Christian community can seem more trouble than it’s worth.
The fact of the matter is that while the life of faith in Jesus is itself a gift of grace, pursuing that life and growing in it requires some effort. Peter wrote about making “every effort to supplement your faith” (2 Peter 1:5) not because faith is inadequate, but rather because faith is a lifetime pursuit. Faith in Christ is not a box checked off a “to-do list” before proceeding on as if it never happened. Rather faith in Christ challenges believers to orient their lives to God’s will rather than their own, regardless of age or circumstances. To do this orienting alone with no support is a nearly impossible task. Conversely, doing the legwork required to find Christian fellowship now, whether it’s a campus ministry, small group, or church group may be difficult but it’s far from impossible. It might require a few socially awkward moments before you find the right place. It may require keeping some time open in your busy schedule. But these are small prices to pay compared to one day finding yourself totally adrift with no one encouraging you to press on in your walk with Christ.
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