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Ask a pastor


Ask a pastor

What are some ministry resources that you would recommend for a college student today?

The number one recommendation I always give is Reformed University Fellowship (RUF). This ministry, being the official college ministry of our denomination, is dedicated to teaching reformed biblical doctrine. Another strength of RUF is the way in which it models a biblical world and life view as its campus ministers and interns shepherd college students in their everyday lives to equip them in grace. In addition to RUF, both Campus Crusade and Campus Outreach have a positive presence on hundreds of campuses across the country. All three of these ministries succeed in prioritizing the great commission by moving towards unbelievers on their respective campuses.


Should a college student transfer their membership to a church in their college town?

Generally speaking, yes, I encourage students to get invested in this way at a church in their college town. Our Book of Church Order (BCO) specifically addresses situations like that of a college student who resides in a location other than their hometown. BCO 46-4 explains that those who wish to retain their original communing membership may become associate members in their town of temporary residence. This membership status gives the individual all of the rights and privileges of a member, with the exception of voting in meetings and holding office (these rights are retained where they are full communing members). To join a church as a full-communing or associate member is very valuable as it establishes a formal relationship between the student and the church. This is particularly important as the student engages in the worship and work of the church (i.e. partakes of the Lord’s Supper) and as they require shepherding and care.

What are some of the most important theological concepts a high school student needs to understand as they transition to college?

First, God is in control of everything. Most high school seniors have yet to face the type of life challenges and questions of faith that the age and stage of college brings. Our students must wrestle with this pivotal piece of doctrine as they choose career paths, take leaps of faith in new friendships and geographical locations and as they potentially seek a spouse. Daniel 4:34-36 tells us of a God who is orchestrating his work through his kingdom for all eternity. College students need to understand they are a part of a much larger story, with a loving, caring, powerful God executing a plan for their lives.

Second, it’s okay that they are not okay. One of the biggest lessons that a college student will ever learn is just how much they don’t know about life and just how much help they are going to need along the way as they transition to adulthood. The hardest part of learning this concept is realizing that this posture of daily need is precisely where God wants us. Jesus explains in Mark 2:17 that he has come for the sick, not the well. It is so easy for college aged individuals (and the rest of us for that matter) to believe that we have/had the world by the tail in our early twenties. At some point, whether it is through a broken relationship, the failure of a college class, a major life mistake or just the constant reproof of a roommate, our students will realize their need of a Savior. If not affirmed with the gospel of grace amidst the pressure to be okay, this life phase will drive students toward dark spiritual lies about how their performance shapes their identity.

Third, sanctification grows best in community. God intends for us to grow through communities of his covenant people. Finding a Bible-believing church and Christian community of peers is vitally important as students navigate their questions of faith and the problem of their sin. These communities of sanctification need to be a place where students are not only affirmed in the gospel, but also challenged to grow because of it.

Last, God’s going to fix it all. Although God’s work may be very clear during portions of our lives, we still need the hope of final redemption. As students learn the implications and tensions of the previous three theological concepts, they will need the promise that Jesus is going to fix it all upon his return. Revelation 21 details the final judgement and eradication of all the evil and wrong in our world. This passage is our hope and longing as we wrestle with God’s plan, realize our sin and work out our sanctification. In addition, it contains the promise that there is nothing we or anyone else can do to foil the work of redemption that God is doing and will do in the future.