LSU football game in 2010. Photo Credit: mattandkayla.us
by: Kayla Marcantonio
Choosing to attend a secular university over a Bible college was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
While choosing a secular university before a Bible school isn’t the popular route for those going into ministry or simply living out their Christian faith, below are four principles I learned which will make your public education after high school a success.
(Please do not assume I’m implying bible colleges are obsolete or unneeded. My husband and myself are currently enrolled in a theological seminary for graduate school, and we’re eager to begin! This post is to serve solely as encouragement for those entering secular universities and colleges, who made the same decision as I once did.)
1. Force yourself to grow.
As a youth pastor, the following statistic keeps me up at night. According to one Barna Group study, only 30 percent of Christian teens continue to live out their faith after high school.
Out of ten students, one will leave the faith completely, four will call themselves Christians but not be active in church, and two will become so confused about their personal convictions they disconnect from Christian beliefs.
The only way to not become a statistic is to go into college with a growth mindset. Many times, students find the college/new church ministry isn’t what their used to; it confuses them and they leave, feeling left out and lonely.
The students in the Chi Alpha ministry or BCM group will not be like the teens from youth group.
Forget about being allowed straight into leadership, which you’ll probably miss from your senior Bible club. Stereotypes aside, the church or ministry you join (yes, you should ensure you join one) WILL look different. Whether it’s bigger or smaller, has louder worship or institutes small groups — it won’t be the same as what you want or expect … and that OK.
College is a time to grow, a time to find yourself as a person. How can you know what you need in a ministry if you’ve only seen it one way? How will you ever know what talents you can provide without growing and seeing ministry differently? Remember, church really isn’t about you to begin with — see the next point for an explanation.
…Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:43-45