Choosing a Church While in College
Attending college starts a new chapter in life that will bring major changes in your life. Moving to a new area, living on your own, meeting new people, and having new professors with new studies each bring a new dynamic to life. As a believer moving away from home, you will also need to decide on where to attend church.
Church is vital to the life of a believer. It is God’s design and way for us to belong, grow, and live out our faith in this world making an impact. Choosing a church to be involved in can feel like an overwhelming task. Here a some ideas to help you in your search for a church while in college.
- Pray and ask God to lead you to the church you should be involved in.
- Spend the same if not more time into researching what churches of like-faith are in the college town as you did into researching the college. Contact the church asking any questions you have. Plan to visit the church. Mix and match the visits between different service times so you can get the full feel for the church. Make sure to attend the Sunday school, Bible study group, or small group to get a sure feel for the core people of the church. Visit at least three times before deciding if the church is a yes or no. Have someone you trust to guide you biblically visit with you such as parents, guardians, youth pastor, home pastor, mentor, or friend that can help guide you in your decision. Do not feel intimidated or crazy for asking questions.
- Some questions you could ask:
- General questions about the pastor. (How long have you been pastor? His testimony of salvation and call into the ministry. Family? Ministry experience?
- What is the mission of the church?
- Is there a ministry or community for college students? Tell me about it and the leaders.
- Does your church allow students from out of town to be involved in the ministries of the church?
- Is there any type of on-campus ministry that the church has at the college.
- Some questions you could ask:
- Make sure it is a biblical church. A biblical church is a group of baptized believers who have voluntarily joined themselves together to carry out the teachings of Jesus to preach the Gospel to every creature. Unfortunately not all “churches” are biblical churches. I Timothy 3:15 says, “the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” The church is responsible to stand on the truth of God’s Word and display it for all the world to see. Here are a few distinctive marks of a biblical church.
- The preaching and teaching should be focused on and rooted in the Bible.
- The leadership of the church should fit God’s guidelines for leadership. (I Timothy 3:1-13)
- There should be ministries actively engaged on a weekly basis getting the Gospel out into both the community, nation, and world. (Matthew 28:28-20, Mark 16:15, Acts 1:8)
- The church should be welcoming to visitors.
- The church should be outward focused on how to get the truth of the Gospel out. A church that meets for services but has no consistent outreach is disobeying Jesus’ clear command to go into all the world to preach the gospel to every creature. It has turned into a social club.
- Do not be afraid to ask any questions about the beliefs or practices of the church.
- Is this a church you can grow in your faith, connect with other believers, and become actively involved in while in college?
- Is there a good mix of all ages in the church? Is it reproducing by winning people to Jesus?
- Pray asking God to show you if this is the church or if you should seek another.
- Do not select a church based on the fact that a friend goes or because many students go. Seek God’s direction for His choice for you.
- Remember, you are not picking a building or a location to be a part of but a group of people. Do not guage the church by the size or look of the buildings.
Making sure there is a strong Bible-beleiveing church in the college town should weigh heavily into your decision on where to go to school. Rather than picking the college first with little to no consideration of a church in the area, allow the search for the church to determine the college you pick. Too many times the college choice takes priority with the church as an afterthought. In saying that, I do not minimize the importance of choosing the correct college with the right degree offerings. At the same time I cannot minimize the absolute importance of the function of the church in your life during your college years.
If you have any questions about choosing a church while in college do not hesitate to contact us.