A new dynamic is shaping the landscape of Christian higher education. For the greater part of the 20th century, the Christian college was primarily meant for Christian students sent by Christian families seeking a Christian academic environment. There was a united effort by believing parents to keep their students away from many social problems found in state, public universities making the private, Christian university option more desirable.
The Christian college was intentionally designed to be a setting where morals, values, biblical worship, prayer, and the Christian environment all met together. Undoubtedly rigorous academic requirements would be present, but there was a desire for the soul to be equipped along with the mind.
That was then. This is now. It seems in the early part of the 21 century, things have begun to shift. More and more non-believing, non-Christian parents are sending their non-believing children to Christian colleges not because they believe the Bible or want their students to participate in weekly chapel services. Instead they desperately want their child’s character to be formed and/or reformed.
Much like a military schools of old, where discipline, character, integrity and personal responsibility are mandatory requirements to survive, the parents of today are sensing that without divine intervention their students are going to be menaces to society. So they send them to private, expensive Christian colleges where both academics and character are co-mingled in the curriculum.
Smaller classes where accountability and attendance are essential. Coaches and professors who demand respect and responsibility on the field and in the classroom. There is the expectation of more Christian-like character in speech, interaction with others, especially members of the opposite gender, selection of appropriate clothing, and non-alcohol induced extra-curricular activities.
Unlike the major universities where is beer is plentiful and shaking up in co-ed dorms is par for the course, the Christian college attempts to instill in their students respect for others, diligence in priorities, servant-leadership, civic duty within the local community, and moral convictions like telling the truth, being responsible for your own actions, and making wise choices.
Call it militaristic if you like, but the outcome is starkly different. Most, but certainly not all, graduates of Christian colleges are academically equipped and qualified for the job world, but they have other assets that many companies desire: character, honesty, moral bearings, and dependability.
And those characteristics, my friends, are rare these days.