Millions of new and returning college students are heading back to campus, and the supplies list is long: Mini fridge, check. New laptop, check. Favorite pillow, check. Plenty of phone chargers, check.
But one serious thing young Christians should have in check is their faith in Jesus.
We know from multiple studies that many young people do leave their faith in college. It may not be intentional, but slowly over four years, faith in Jesus can fade away in college. Students may find it can be difficult to connect with a new church or keep up with Bible reading and prayer without the support of their parents, youth pastor or Christian friends.
Even seemingly simple acts can go a very long way to keep Jesus at the core of a college career, so here are seven easy ways young Christians can help keep their faith strong while in college:
- FIND A LOCAL CHURCH: Because you have left your home church for this season in college doesn’t mean you should leave church altogether. Find a local church near campus, commit to attend regularly and join small groups of your peers within the church.
- BE PART OF A BIBLE STUDY: Even secular campuses have many resources for Christian students. Find a small group or Bible study to join. This may be made up of young women, young men, athletes or residents of the same hall. Can’t find a Bible study to join? Start one.
- MAKE NEW CHRISTIAN FRIENDS: Youth group and church friends are probably scattered across different college campuses now. Be intentional about making new Christian friends that will be good influences and help keep you accountable.
- CONNECT WITH A CHRISTIAN MENTOR: Many young people appreciate a mentor who is more experienced in their faith walk and can offer guidance and wisdom. Consider a Christian professor, coach or even an older student.
- JOIN A FAITH-BASED GROUP: Nearly every college campus has a long list of groups and organizations that keep Christ at their center. Joining up will allow you to find events, make friends and deepen your faith. Examples include campus chapters of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Cru, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Ratio Christi, Young Life or dozens of others.
- OPEN YOUR BIBLE ALONG WITH YOUR BOOKS: As you crack the books, dig into the Bible as well. Even with all the studying, making time to remain in God’s Word is crucial. Find a devotional that speaks to you or download a Bible reading plan through an online resource such as YouVersion.
- PRAY FOR GOD’S WISDOM: Dedicate at least part of your day to time in prayer to God, whether in the morning, during a walk to class or as the day comes to a close. Ask God for wisdom, guidance and perseverance to serve Him and follow His will.
These specific actions can help students make sure they stay close to Christ while in college. Jesus longs for their souls at this very important time in their life, as they make decisions and form relationships that will impact the rest of their lives.
Dr. Alex McFarland is a religion and culture expert, a national talk show host and speaker, author of 18 books and the host of over 40 Truth for a New Generation conferences. Visit www.AlexMcFarland.com or www.TruthforaNewGeneration.com.