Sunday, August 21, 2011

What does Church have to do with College?

One of the biggest mistakes I feel I made the last time I went to college was failing to connect with a church. I wasn't too far from my parents church where I'd grown up and decided I'd just continue going there.

However... there was a major disconnect that happened anyways. Other issues happened that made attending services there not the best idea for me at the time and I really dropped off going to church altogether. This meant by my second year I really didn't have a solid support team or source of spiritual renewal.

I'm sure I'm not the only college student with this problem. After all, if you've spent the last decade of your life at one church, it can seem pretty scary to visit a new congregation by yourself!

When I nannied in Virginia, my employers requested that I regularily attend a church service (of any kind) in order to set a good example for their kids. I knew this was a good idea and that I really needed that place of spiritual connection and church family. So I gathered up my courage, made a few connections, and found a church that became a huge blessing and source of comfort over the next few months. I was only there for a short time, but it drastically changed how I viewed church, and especially joining new churches.

So one of the first things I did when researching my university of choice was to look at the church offerings in my area. Almost immediately I came across one that looked like a perfect fit. Flash forwards ten months later and I'd made contact with a young lady from the congregation who was delighted to help me with transportation and meeting people. Today I got to attend service with her and her boyfriend and was incredibly blessed by the experience.

The sermon was great -- I'd probably rank it among the top 10 sermons I've ever heard. The pastor preached on Deuteronomy 6 and going back to the very foundation of our faith -- loving the Lord our God with our entire beings, in every area of our life, and teaching this devotion to our children.

Another amazing thing -- music is incredibly important to me and a very vital part of any church service. When two of my absolutely favorite worship songs were played ("Come Thou Fount" and "In Christ Alone") I felt pretty sure that God was making it clear I was meant to be here.

So I'm excited. I'm really enthusiastic about being a part of this church body and worshiping and learning there. It's a real blessing.

And I really want to encourage those of you who are going off to college this year... do become part of a Christian group, even if you are at a Christian college. So many people told me this when I first went and I didn't listen. I've always regretted it. But you will find it invaluable to not just go, but get connected. I promise. And it doesn't have to be a church, it can be a Bible study, a group like Campus Crusade -- any gathering of believers where you can grow in God, love others, and build each other up.

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