The Bible often compares the Christian life to a battle. As long as we live in this broken world, the conflicts are inevitable. There will be sickness and loss that show up unexpectedly, temptations that lure relentlessly and discouragements that visit from time to time. Sadly, we can’t avoid these battles, so we must prepare for them. For many students, college is a brand new, uncharted battlefield, and they feel like an inexperienced soldier.
We’ve all heard the sad statistics of the number of Christian students who walk away from God and the church during their college years. While we as parents do our best to raise them to walk with the Lord, make good choices, and be all that God created them to be…we can’t go with them to college. Don’t try! It’s frowned upon at most universities.) But, don’t worry, you still have a considerable role to play in this battle! Here are three ways you can encourage your student to build on the foundation you have already set for them:
Build up the Arsenal
No soldier goes into battle without weapons. In the battles of the Christian life, we arm ourselves with the truth of God’s Word. It’s one thing to give our students weapons; it’s another thing to teach them how to use them. For example, it’s not enough to know the Bible talks about homosexuality. Does he or she know where to find the passages that lay out God’s intended design for marriage? Would they know how to lovingly reflect Christ in the way they interact with a classmate or friend that struggles with same-sex attraction? Are they prepared to stick to a biblical worldview of sexuality when their professors teach something contradictory?
Any soldier can look the part with his uniform and weapons, but when he is forced to the front lines of battle, those weapons will only grant victory if he knows what to do with them.
Build an Army
Going to college- even a Christian college- inevitably brings daily interactions with different worldviews, belief systems, and perspectives. No matter how strong your student’s faith is, these are the years that force them to figure out what and why they believe. One of the most determining factors in this particular battle will be the people with whom your student surrounds himself/herself. A soldier on his own can survive, but there is power in an army. Encourage your student to seek out friendships with like-minded believers who can remind each other of truth when doubts and questions arise (Hebrews 3:12-13). Friendships and mentors can be found through local church involvement, campus Bible studies, or college ministries. No matter where they find it, biblical community provides accountability, encouragement, and direction during years when it is needed the most!
Develop a Plan
Students and young adults are walking away from the church at incredible rates. For many, this drastic change is not a choice they wake up one day and make; it is the result of thousands of little decisions made each day. In the battle of the Christian life, we have an enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy by targeting these tiny “insignificant” choices.
What do you do with a known enemy? You learn his tactics and prepare accordingly (Ephesians 6:11). A good soldier does not go to war blindly; he has a plan. Similarly, our students should not walk onto their college campuses without a strategy for making wise choices, for curating spiritual disciplines, and for staying faithful to the Lord. This takes work! Realistically, daily time in God’s Word, commitment to a local church, and seeking out discipleship or ministry opportunities will not happen unless it is purposely made a priority.
Train at Word of Life
No, a Bible Institute can’t fight the battle for our students, but they can help them prepare. A Bible Institute could be the perfect step between your home and a university.
At a Bible Institute like Word of Life students are taught how to make daily time in God’s Word a pattern and priority for the rest of their lives. They sit under hours of Biblical teaching per class day, often taught by pastors, and professors or ministry leaders from all over the world. Students learns how to share, defend, and deepen their faith through classes, practical ministry training and opportunities, and life-on-life discipleship. These Institutes often serve as a launching pad where students can take a year to grow in their faith while at the same time fulfilling the purpose God has called them to, whether a full-time career or full-time ministry.
If you are curious about how Word of Life Bible Institute could help prepare your student for their next steps visit their website at www.wordoflife.edu or give them a call to find out more!