Student-athlete are here and starting camp week. The vast majority will arrive next weekend as the semester starts in about a week.
Moms and dads will drop students off with everything in tow: clothes, mini-fridge, microwave, laundry basket, and a debit card. But most parents will not leave any instructions or advice on how to find a local church to attend while at school.
Students who are committed believers in Christ will be left with two options: (1) Go to the church where all their friends attend or (2) Just venture out to some random church that sounds interesting and see what happens.
Both options leave much to be desired. So here are 5 tips of advice for finding a college church from a guy who loves college students and the church deeply.
1. The most popular church is not always the most healthy. Just because “everyone” goes there doesn’t necessarily mean the church is a good place for you. Every college town has a “sexy” church that attracts the masses. But in my experience, sexy churches are often pretty and alluring on the outside, but not so healthy on the inside. Just be cautious in going to the place that everyone is talking about. There’s a reason their talking.
2. Consider the lead preacher/pastor’s preaching style. You’re going to have to put on your theology caps here and try to discern where the lead preacher/pastor stands on the BIBLE. This is a huge issue. Are they committed to teaching God’s Word or do they use the Bible to teach modern pop psychology? Do they open the Word of God and explain its meaning to the lives of their people or is the Bible just something that sits on the pulpit opened, but not taught.
3. Consider the atmosphere and authenticity in worship. When you go in and everything starts, do you sense that the majority of the people are there because they love Jesus and want to grow closer to him? This can’t be determined by just counting the number of people who raise their hands or how many go forward at the end of the service. You must look for something deeper. Look for people whose lives have been changed and are still being changed by the power of Christ.
4. Pick a church where you can serve IMMEDIATELY. The most dangerous thing for a young believer to do during the college years is to become a church-consumer. You were not a consumer in your hometown or in your youth group. You were out serving others, going on mission trips, making a difference in the world. If you can’t serve in a church the very next Sunday you attend somewhere somehow, then find one that needs you. Don’t put your spiritual gifts on the shelf during these 4 years – they’ll dry up.
5. Don’t visit too many. The more you visit, the more likely you are to keep changing. As Joshua Harris so eloquently said, “Stop dating the church.” Visit 2 or 3 times, make a decision and stick with it. You’re delay in commitment will severely stunt your growth in Christ.
Remember the church is Jesus’ bride and you need to be in one quickly.