A few weeks ago I wrote about my experience in getting involved in Greek life, but I figured there’s so much more to talk about when it comes to what I’ve found helpful in growing with Christ in college. Staying connected to other Christians in college can be difficult. Whether its other curricular activities, schoolwork, or just the busyness of keeping up with other friends that are not Christians, we can sometimes slip away from our church community.
Going to a good church is important.
When I say “good,” I don’t mean that they play all your favorite worship songs or that the church looks super cool or modern. Sure, you can consider those things, but they aren’t necessary for finding a good church.
So what defines a good church? Before this past summer, I wasn’t really sure what that meant. However, when I went to the 2018 Christ in Youth conference, I attended a discussion for incoming freshman in college and found some great insight. There are 3 main questions to ask when deciding if a church is a “good” church:
1. Do they preach the gospel?
This is so important to consider. The gospel is the cornerstone of our beliefs as christians and if a church does not preach it then it is not a good church. It doesn’t matter if they teach good morals or how to be a good person. If they don’t use the Bible when creating their sermons and if they do not regularly preach that Jesus is God’s son, then the church doesn’t pass the test.
2. Do they participate in mission work, both inside and outside of the church?
Ministering to the immediate community is important and shouldn’t be overlooked. However, if the church only stays within the area, they are ignoring God’s command to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20).
3. Do they have opportunities that allow you to use your gifts to serve the Lord?
Once you attend a church for a while, you should get more involved. God gave every one of us gifts that we can use for his mission. Whether it be worship, children’s ministry, or greeting people at the door, there is something for everyone. It is important to find a church that allows you to serve in your area of interest. If there are no opportunities, it probably shouldn’t be the church for you.
“A “C+” church is better than no church at all.”
This was said at in the discussion and it’s absolutely true. Sometimes it’s hard to find an “A+” church that checks off all the boxes in the area in where you go to school. However, even if you can’t find a church that meets all of the criteria, attending an “okay” church is better than attending no church at all.
I found an amazing church in Tallahassee.
This church meets all of the criteria and it is almost identical to my home church, which is a bonus. They preach the gospel, focus heavily on mission work, and have so many opportunities for me to serve. I love what they do there and I have met so many great people at this church.
City Church has a fantastic college ministry.
The congregation is heavily made up of college students because it is located in Tallahassee. Therefore, they have a really big college ministry. On Tuesday nights they have a church service for college students, they have college bible study groups, and there are so many opportunities for students to get involved.
Recently, I went on a service trip to Panama City Beach.
However, this wasn’t originally the plan. Every year, City Church U (the college ministry) takes a trip to Panama City Beach for a weekend filled with worship, food, and fellowship. Due to the hurricane, that weekend was pushed back, and God used us to serve where the hurricane did a lot of damage. So, instead of staying at a resort on the beach and hanging out with other students, we participated in relief work. On Friday night, we had dinner and a service at the church. On Saturday we got up bright and early and served in Panama City. We moved debris, cut down trees, tarped rooves, and more. We were able to show these people the love of Christ in within difficult times. Then we went to the beach and had a cookout and worship service. It was an event I’ll never forget.
Being a part of the christian community is important, but going to church is crucial.
Going to church on Sunday’s isn’t going to make you a perfect christian. Not going to church doesn’t make you a bad one. However, being exposed to the levels of wisdom and leadership within the church and always having someone older to guide you is great for spiritual growth. Make it a goal to find a church within the first few months of looking. Then stick to that church and make that your church community.
*These tips and tidbits may work for the reader, but I am not a professional in this area. These are merely suggestions that God has put in my heart through the study of scripture and through prayer and may or may not work for anyone.