There’s something about living on the hill, about trekking to Simpson Hall in early autumn mornings to learn about the wild and mysterious Old Testament. There’s something about walking through the cafeteria and hearing kids from the Gospel Choir burst out in piano playing and praise that somehow sounds even better amidst the cafeteria plates. There’s something about praying with your friends at two in the morning in a dorm room filled with the smell of stale pizza. There’s something about conversations, deep, full of strength and faith on the way to intramural practice. There’s something about going to a Christian college where you can find like-minded community, and classes and professors who will challenge and mold your faith. I do not regret my decision to attend a Christian college.
Sometimes though, we have this idea that going to a Christian college means that you give up sharing your faith for four years. There’s this idea that going to a Christian college means that you live in church for four years, only read Scripture, and only talk to kids who grew up in Sunday School. I think that Christian college and monastic living can be confused sometimes.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
It is possible to go to a Christian college and still share your faith. I’m a senior at Nyack, and it’s something I’m still learning how to do. I think sharing your faith in any context is one of those things it takes an entire life to learn, but here are some ways to attend a Christian college and not hide your faith for four years.
- Give a Bible: Keep a Bible to give away, and highlight a few verses. During the school year find one person you care about to slip the Bible into their hand, look them in the eye, tell them you care about them–and mean it.
- Take Advantage of Breaks: During summer break go home and work. Share your faith with the people your coworkers. This doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Work hard and well. Work with integrity. Quietly let people know you’re a Christian, and your life will speak. Take opportunities that come up in conversation to speak about deeper things. Quietly find the needs of the people at your workplace, pray for them, and work to meet them if you can.
- Join a Ministry: Christian colleges tend to have outreach ministries run by students who are reaching out into their community. Join a ministry. If there isn’t one, start one yourself.
- Live Random: Do something ridiculous just because the grace of Christ is ridiculous. Pay for a stranger’s groceries, give your waitress or cab driver an extra tip, and then look them in the eye and tell that in Christ there is the truest of peace.
- Make a Friend: Find someone in your life who needs a friend, and doesn’t know Christ. Not everyone who goes to a Christian college will be a Christian. Just be a good friend. This person isn’t your pet-project, actually care about them, and don’t be fake. God will work through real friendship.
- Know Your Stuff: Know why you’re a Christian. Work through those hard questions. Why am I a Christian? What would I tell someone else if they asked? Know the beauty and power of Scripture as well. If you rarely read Scripture, how can you share what it says?
- Pray: Steep your entire life in prayer. Pray for the people around you. Pray that you would actually care about them. Pray consistently. Pray for the courage to share your faith. Prayer can turn the most timid of freshmen (“laughing” me three years ago), into the bravest of men or women who understands that God can work through the context of students attending a Christian college.