Why Should I Attend Church in College?

College students need to live around the older and younger members of the covenant community. It isn’t that other generations are better than the current generation of college students, but rather that they have different struggles than college students. They have lived experiences and perspectives that are needed for a well-rounded preparation for adulthood. The knowledge and wisdom that college students can glean from older saints who are seasoned in both the joys and challenges of the Christian life can help them see beyond the unique assumptions that accompany every new generation.

You’ve made it. You stand among the stately ivy-covered halls of your chosen college. You walk across the manicured quad, dorms, and library to your classes. You are on your way to higher education. Everything seems perfectly designed to prepare you for your future life and career—except it isn’t. The college life is not real life. This is not to say that real and important things do not happen in those college years; they do. However, the priorities, place, and pace of college life does not reflect real life and will not adequately prepare you for success in real life.

You cannot be properly rooted and grounded in your faith apart from Christ’s church. And if you are not rooted and grounded in the local church, you will major in the minors. Yet, a good local church rarely factors into the decision of choosing a college. More than luxurious dorms, award-winning faculty, a killer rec center, beautiful architecture, or a state-of-the-art library, college students need the church in order to be truly successful in college. College students need the church because all Christians need the church.

The priorities of college life do not reflect real life.

Even in many evangelical colleges, the pursuit of academic inquiry takes precedence over all other interests. The pressure to perform academically can be overwhelming and all-consuming. The brilliance of PhDs who challenge preconceived notions of truth can capture the imagination. Grades become the ultimate purpose for existence. Or perhaps the student is driven by the social life of college such that hanging out with friends is the sole interest of college. That social life might even be oriented around a parachurch campus ministry. But the emphasis is always, “What are we doing next?” Or maybe the college student is experiencing the modest rebellion of newfound independence and just wants to do his own thing. Independence and self-expression become paramount.

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