May 20, 2024

Why Should I Attend Church in College?

3 Min Read

You’ve made it. You stand among the stately ivy-covered halls of your chosen college. You walk across the manicured quad, dorms, and library to your classes. You are on your way to higher education. Everything seems perfectly designed to prepare you for your future life and career—except it isn’t. The college life is not real life. This is not to say that real and important things do not happen in those college years; they do. However, the priorities, place, and pace of college life does not reflect real life and will not adequately prepare you for success in real life.

You cannot be properly rooted and grounded in your faith apart from Christ’s church. And if you are not rooted and grounded in the local church, you will major in the minors. Yet, a good local church rarely factors into the decision of choosing a college. More than luxurious dorms, award-winning faculty, a killer rec center, beautiful architecture, or a state-of-the-art library, college students need the church in order to be truly successful in college. College students need the church because all Christians need the church.

The priorities of college life do not reflect real life.

Even in many evangelical colleges, the pursuit of academic inquiry takes precedence over all other interests. The pressure to perform academically can be overwhelming and all-consuming. The brilliance of PhDs who challenge preconceived notions of truth can capture the imagination. Grades become the ultimate purpose for existence. Or perhaps the student is driven by the social life of college such that hanging out with friends is the sole interest of college. That social life might even be oriented around a parachurch campus ministry. But the emphasis is always, “What are we doing next?” Or maybe the college student is experiencing the modest rebellion of newfound independence and just wants to do his own thing. Independence and self-expression become paramount. These skewed priorities are nurtured and exaggerated by the college experience, and they inhibit the college student from faithful attendance in church. College students need the church.

The place of college life does not reflect real life.

One of the exciting aspects of college life is to be surrounded by people in the same stage of life. Lifelong friendships are forged in college. Yet the mono-generational environment of college is not a healthy environment for your spiritual life. Being siloed solely with people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two can warp your perspective. The real world does not look like this.

Christians are not meant to live in mono-generational communities. College students need the church.

College students need to live around the older and younger members of the covenant community. It isn’t that other generations are better than the current generation of college students, but rather that they have different struggles than college students. They have lived experiences and perspectives that are needed for a well-rounded preparation for adulthood. The knowledge and wisdom that college students can glean from older saints who are seasoned in both the joys and challenges of the Christian life can help them see beyond the unique assumptions that accompany every new generation.

The younger and older saints of the church need the energy and creativity of college students, just as the college students need the wisdom of older saints. Plus, those older members of the church might even offer a home-cooked meal and help with laundry. Christians are not meant to live in mono-generational communities. College students need the church.

The pace of college life does not reflect real life.

What is the number one reason Christian college students give for not attending church on Sunday morning? They stayed up too late on Saturday night. It might be because of studying. It might be because of hanging out late. It might be because they were scrolling down the rabbit hole of their preferred social media platform. Late nights in college are part of the experience. Young adults need to feel that freedom and the ensuing reality of grogginess the next morning. None of that, however, creates an excuse for failing to gather with the saints on the Lord’s Day. Real life will have plenty of moments in which we are tired on a Sunday morning, but we must remain faithful to God’s commands. Sunday church is a Saturday-night decision. College students need the church.

Real life is lived with the church.

The priorities, place, and pace of college life can push students away from the regular worship of God in the church on the Lord’s Day. Christian college students need to attend church in college because they are Christians. You don’t have to be able to ace Organic Chem 320 or Theory of Partial Differential Equations 412 to understand this. The Christian life needs to be lived with the church. If you are a Christian in college, do not let the priorities, place, or pace of college push you out. College students need the church.