One of the very real fears of parents and students alike is the reality of the glaring statistics of the number of students who seem to abandon their Christian faith when they go leave home and go to college or wherever life might take them after high school. The pressures of a young person’s newfound independence combined with the presence of a new peer group as well as numerous worldviews which collide with his/her own can sometimes send this student into a spiral of questions and doubts.
So, is all hope lost? Absolutely not! As a means of encouragement, I asked three recent HCA graduates (all have graduated within the past three years) to share the challenges and victories they have had as they stepped beyond the walls of HCA to the new territory of university life. I plan to have one of these students “share” with you via this blog over the course of the next three months. I haven’t shared their names, but hopefully their stories will encourage you that your son or daughter can not only survive but thrive as they leave home!
The first student we are highlighting attends a Christian college, but you will see that she has faced challenges and has seen God give her growth in many areas.
* What has been the biggest challenge to having your faith be a vital part of your life in college? How have you dealt with that challenge?
Loving the Lord with ALL of my heart, soul, mind, and strength. That is what it comes down to. It is so easy to go through the motions on a Christian campus. It’s easy to be in the word and in prayer, yet not connecting on a heart level. Here’s my biggest one since I’m a doer, server, and people pleaser: It’s easy to get caught up in serving the Lord rather than loving the Lord. It’s easy to not be passionate and excited about the Lord because no one else really is and if you are, people look at you like you are crazy. It’s easy to get caught up in pleasing people rather than pleasing the Lord.
I think I deal with this most effectively when I remind myself that at the end of the day, at the end of this life, it’s not about how much I loved people, served people, or how much I even served the Lord. It’s about knowing, enjoying, and loving Him, because He will love me just as much as he loved the apostle Paul, my finest works are as filthy rags, and His love isn’t conditional!
* What would you say has been important in helping you to grow in your faith while you are in college?
- DAILY spending time with the Lord and resting in his presence through His Word, prayer, solitude, continual conversation with Him throughout my day, and various other spiritual disciplines.
- Facing hard things has grown my faith (my past, my future, relationships with others, academic challenges)
- Friends that are grounded in their faith, keep me accountable, and push me towards the Lord with their excitement and passion for the Lord and his word
- People challenging my theological beliefs. This has forced me to truly search the scriptures to see what is true.
- Bible courses and Chapel everyday
* Many people believe that coming out of high school will be very challenging and that their faith will be mocked and ridiculed or undermined in their university. Have you found this to be the case? Provide an example, either positive or negative, if you have one.
As sad as this may sound, there have been times when it has been challenging to live out my faith even in the midst of living on a Christian campus. No, I may have not been mocked or ridiculed severely, but there have been times when it has been challenging to stand up for what are perceived as the “little things” that we are called to in the Christian life, such as gossiping. I can recall several times when I have called people out for gossiping, or for tearing another person down, and the feedback isn’t pretty. I think it’s harder to take passive aggressive comments or judgmental looks from Christian friends than a mocking or ridiculing comment from a nonbeliever because you expect more out of your Christian friends than a nonbeliever.
* Is there a Scripture which has strengthened you in this stage of life?
Colossians 3:23 – Doing things out of a love for the Lord and not for teachers, friends, grades, money, etc.
Psalm 16:11 – The Lord is the only thing/person that will ever satisfy me; not good grades, friendship, or service.
I Peter 4:12 & 13 – Reminder that suffering and hardships are part of what Christ calls us to and it should be of no surprise
* How would you describe your faith now as compared to when you graduated from high school?
- More mature
- More seasoned
- Have a better and more understanding perspective on situations that come into my life
- More vulnerable/open/not afraid to be real with people
* How do you balance understanding other worldviews and perspectives while still being firm in your own Christian faith?
I think first and foremost to have a firm understanding of what you truly believe is most important. I think once you are grounded in your faith and know that you know what is true, you can have the proper perspective and lens to look at other worldviews.
Additional articles written by HCA graduates:
HCA. . . In The Words Of Our Alumni (Part 1)
HCA. . . In The Words Of Our Alumni (Part 2)
HCA. . . In The Words Of Our Alumni (Part 3)
HCA. . . In The Words Of Our Alumni (Part 4)
Who We Are in the Christian School Community:
Heritage Christian Academy is a Pre-K through 12th grade Christian school with campuses in both Olathe and Overland Park, Kansas. We realize that there are many good options in Olathe/Overland Park for Christian school education. But, as the above post articulates, our passion is teaching our students to be true leaders – and to train other leaders to follow in their footsteps.
If you are interested in learning more about our school and teachers who are passionate about raising up an army of Godly leaders for the next generation, please visit our website www.whyswitch2hca.com. There you will find further information, videos and facts that enable you to make an educated decision about whether our Christian school is right for you.
To visit our full school site, go to www.hcakc.org.