Preparing Young People for College: God's Not Dead
- Thursday, April 10, 2014
April is college acceptance month for many high school seniors. All over the country, students are jumping up and down over acceptance letters, and many, with their minds already turning to next fall, have a strong case of senior-itis. And many parents, tasked with paying for their kids’ education, also have a case of the flutters, both financially and emotionally!
Our kids should be excited over this coming transition into adulthood. “Going to university,” as the Brits say, means learning new things, being on one’s own, facing new adventures (perhaps cooking and doing one’s laundry), and making new friends.
But a serious challenge to a young student’s faith might also be just around the corner. This is dramatized in the new movie “God’s Not Dead.” The film tells the fictional story of a philosophy professor who requires his students to write “God is dead” on a sheet of paper, sign it, and turn it in. The fun begins when one of his students, who is a Christian, refuses.
This is not just a movie scenario. In real life, unfortunately, too many Christian young people wither under the secular assault they face on our college campuses. But, it’s usually not so in your face as the movie portrays. Most aren’t going to face an overt intellectual attack by a professor—although some will. I’ve met few college students who leave the faith because of such a direct assault.
For most, their faith dies by a thousand little cuts . . . doubts about the Bible’s truthfulness, Christian morality, or about the Bible’s view on sin, sex, marriage, human value, and so on. A well-placed snicker or raised eyebrow is just as devastating as any philosophical argument. And don’t forget the morally compromising hook-up culture that they will face. Too many are sadly ill-prepared.
So how do we prepare them in these last few critical months before packing up the car to not only survive spiritually while in college, but to prosper—to go from being a potential victim to a confident witness? Well, I’m glad you asked!
First, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you of Summit Ministries, where I’ve taught for the last dozen years.
Summit Ministries offers a two-week summer boot camp in worldview analysis and cultural understanding for young people, and trains them to articulately defend the truth when it’s challenged—even by a college professor. They’ll explore the big cultural questions of our day and learn how to develop a biblical worldview in response.
I also want to tell you, however, about two excellent books. The first is “How to Stay Christian in College,” by J. Budziszewski, who was one of our friend Chuck Colson’s favorite thinkers, and mine too. “How to Stay Christian in College” helps prepare Christian young people to answer the standard “lines” they’ll hear in college with soul-satisfying truth, such as the assertion that to make good choices about sex, you have to experiment. Budziszewski’s book will help them understand that many of the most common lines that they’ll hear will express a false worldview.
The other outstanding book is by my friend Jonathan Morrow, “Welcome to College.” Morrow covers a lot of the practical issues that young people face both inside and outside of the classroom. There’s intellectual heft here, but it’s also very reader-friendly.
Recently on Youth Ministry
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Listen to Your Favorite Pastors
Add Crosswalk.com content to your siteBrowse available content