So many students struggle to live out their beliefs in the midst of university life. Even if you were raised in the church, new relationships, interests, causes and obligations can push faith to the fringes of your life. Yet, your college years are such a pivotal time. You are stretched and challenged and perhaps you experience more personal growth than you ever have in such a short period of time. You need your faith now more than ever to shape how you interpret and respond to life’s greatest challenges.
There’s no doubt that staying connected to Jesus is tough in college, but it’s by no means impossible. Here are 5 simple suggestions to stay strong, grounded and consistent as you venture deeper into your college career and beyond.
1) Choose a Local Church
The local church is where the Body of Christ gathers to hear the Word of God and respond in worship together. In the local church, you begin to express the fullness of Christ to your local community in service and Christian fellowship. This is where your core discipleship should take place. Called and ordained leaders can speak Biblical truth into your life. It’s impossible to maintain a healthy relationship with God apart from his Body on earth, the Church.
2) Pray Every Day
By “pray every day” I don’t mean just muttering a quick plea for help on the test you didn’t study for. Really pray. Come to God as you would a friend, a confidant, a Father. And don’t make it a one sided conversation (nobody likes those!). Learn to listen to God in your times of prayer by reading the Bible and waiting on him in silence, solitude and stillness. Make this your daily practice, and you will find that your faith grows in ways you can’t even imagine right now.
3) Find People to Serve
The quickest path away from God is to pursue yourself and your own interests at the expense of others. The antidote to this kind of selfishness and pride is as famous pastor Tim Keller said, “not to think less of yourself, but to think of yourself less.” Practice this by finding people to serve. This could happen in your church, in your residence hall, at class, or at the local homeless shelter. Take the time and energy to truly love the people you are around by how you live your life.
4) Surround Yourself with the Right Friends
Hang out with people that will encourage, uplift, and challenge you in all the right ways. This isn’t to say that you should retreat from the real world or avoid non-Christians like the plague. Far from it! Just be aware of who you allow as primary influences in your life. No one is above influence from the people they spend time with! Look for people that love Jesus and that are just as committed to keeping the faith as you are…and that aren’t afraid to speak truth when it’s needed.
5) Learn Time Management
Get a calendar and learn how to effectively manage a to-do list. Build a little discipline…it will go a long way. Many students struggle with time management, so if this is tough for you, know that you’re not alone! Basic time management is a life skill that will have a huge pay off, if you learn it now. Not only will you be a favored employee and stay one step ahead in your classes, you’ll learn how to put your true priorities where they belong and follow through with what’s most important. Discipline in this area will help you serve consistently, make the most of your personal time with God each day, and free up “margin” in your schedule so you can be generous with your time for the sake of others.
Tell us about your biggest obstacle in college to stay connected with Jesus. Send us a tweet, share your thoughts on Facebook, or leave your comment below.