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    God in the Classroom

    Keeping the faith at college.

    Mark Moring

    Maybe you're wondering what your faith has to do with your education. Aren't academics and faith completely different things?

    Not according to Christian college presidents.

    One says, "Your faith is very much a part of your education. It's like putting water and oil into a bowl and blending them together. Some things—like faith and education—might seem on the surface to be separate and unrelated. But with the right kind of support and environment—like you find at a Christian college—those things can become one without diluting either of them."

    Growing in Faith

    Growing in your faith at college requires the same things it requires anywhere else. Typically, these things include:

    Daily devotions. You'll want to read your Bible and pray every day, if possible. You might even keep a prayer journal to record things you've prayed for and how you've seen those prayers answered. You might also note important Bible verses or spiritual lessons you've learned in this journal too. And it's important to actually schedule your devotion time. You may think you can just have a quiet time when you find a spare moment. But you'll be so busy during college that those spare moments will be hard to find. Deliberately set aside a block of time each day for devotions.

    Fellowship. You're probably involved in some kind of youth group in high school, and those meetings have helped you grow in your faith. The same thing will be true in college, so be sure to find some kind of a fellowship group. You might think, "I'll be at a Christian college, so I'll be hanging with Christians everywhere I go. Who needs fellowship on top of that?" You do. Hanging with Christians in a chemistry class, in the dorm or the cafeteria is not the same as Spirit-filled fellowship, where you're praising God and learning about him together.

    Chapel and church. These overlap the "fellowship" category a little bit, but the big thing here is the idea of "corporate worship"—getting together with a bunch of believers of all ages, singing hymns and praise songs, praying as a congregation, hearing and responding to the message. You'll have the opportunity to attend campus chapel services one or more times a week, and to head to a local church on Sunday morning.

    Small groups. While the "fellowship" and "church" categories apply to large groups, you'll also want to find some kind of small group for Bible study, prayer, accountability and just good old friendship. Where do you find a small group? Often, you can find one through the fellowship you join; ask one of the leaders to get you plugged in. You might find one at the local church you attend; ask the college leader for information. Or you and your friends can start one in the dorm.

    Discipleship. You might want to find someone who can be your spiritual mentor, a person mature enough in their faith to help you mature in yours. This might be the campus chaplain, a prof, someone at church, an older student. It might be a one-on-one relationship, or perhaps you and a friend or two might find someone to disciple you as a group.

    Service. You'll find ways to serve others while you're in college. A Christian college offers all sorts of service projects and missions opportunities. But don't just think about the "organized events" when you're looking for opportunities to serve. And don't just think that service needs to be extended to non-Christians. If you're a math whiz and your roommate is struggling with math, offer to be a tutor. That's service. If you were a state tennis champ and somebody down the hall wants to learn to play, give some free lessons. That's service. By keeping your eyes open, you'll find opportunities to serve every day.

    Evangelism. What? At a Christian college? Yes. Many Christian colleges admit non-Christians, so there might just be a non-believer on your hall. But even if your campus is exclusively Christian, there's still a community around you. Get involved in the community, and always look for a chance to tell someone about the heavenly hope you have.

    With a little creativity, hard work and sacrifice, these families are making Christian education affordable.