pecaspers: a Blog in transition

May 16, 2011

Don’t Send Your Kids to College and away from God

The end of the school year is approaching. In the coming months, many of you will be sending your children off to college for the first time. Many more will be sending one or more back to college. Some of you are the ones who’ll be going away. And most of the rest of you reading this article have a grandchild, nephew, niece, cousin, other relative, neighbor and/or close family friend who will be in the collegiate mix as well come August. Don’t let the Sunday before they (or you) go off to college be the last time they (or you) regularly attend a church until they (or you) are married and have children.

That may sound like a strange thing to say, but that’s what happens more often than not. You go to college, and nobody makes you get up on Sunday morning so you don’t. You’ve never had to pick which church to go to because you’ve always gone to the same one–or at least to whichever one your parents took you to–so you just don’t go to one at all. You’ll go to the church you grew up in when you’re home, but you are home less and less often the longer you are in college. Then you graduate, and you get a job somewhere new, and you don’t find a church when you move there because you are completely out of touch with God and being out of touch with His people doesn’t bother you anymore. Somewhere along the why you have a kid, and you remember VBS and Sunday School and you start taking your kids to whichever church has the best Pre-school and Children’s ministry in the area.

However, what you should do is this: go to church the first Sunday you are at school, keep going until you find a place where you can get involved, become a member of that church, and get yourself equipped “for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until [you] attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that [you are] no longer [a child], tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes,” (Ephesians 4:12-14, ESV).

I suggest you start with a church of the same denomination you grew up in, but don’t be afraid to visit a church of another denomination or a non-denominational one. Find a congregation where the Bible is taught faithfully, where there are older people to mentor you, and where there are younger people for you to help out as well. Don’t use some mid-week student Bible Study as a substitute for a real church. Student ministries are great, but the Body of Christ is broader than the 18-25 year-old age bracket, and you need cross-generational relationships for your benefit and theirs.

Some of you are terrified by this whole idea. The rest of you know someone who would be terrified by it. It’s funny how the people who cry “foul” when someone suggests that church membership means that you have a responsibility to be involved, ought to give generously, and will be held accountable for how you live your life, are the same people who think that it is some form of spiritual treason for people to move their church membership from where they grew up to where they are now. That’s the worst kind of hypocrisy. Either church membership means something to you and you’ll be an integral part of a local church wherever you are, or it means nothing to you and it shouldn’t bother you when people leave a church they once were part of to join another one where they live.

Regardless of what you think, church membership matters to God. The Bible clearly teaches that members of a local church are like members of a body. An organ cut-off starts to rot pretty quickly, but an organ transplanted can live and add life to a new body. Would you rather see your college students live and grow in another church, or rot because they are cut off from the life of their childhood church?

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