Standing on the brink of adult life, the new university students in our churches have a defining choice (among many) to make: am I going to be a non-Christian, a secret Christian, or a serious Christian?
Parents and youth workers can’t babysit fledgling students who will soon be spreading their wings and flying away from the nest. So what can you do?
The entrance to Glasgow University
The entrance to Glasgow University
Is The System Failing Our Kids?
With binge drinking on the rise and universities being blamed for the rise in student suicides, higher education is receiving a battering from the press over student welfare. But whose responsibility is it? The universities' or the students'?
An article in the Independent recently documented the state of the situation. A study carried out by Dr Anthony Seldon showed that 90% of 104 Head Teachers in schools and colleges felt senior academics were turning a blind-eye to drunkenness and 80% felt that universities were failing to provide adequate pastoral care.
“There is a belief among vice chancellors that young people are adults and can fend for themselves. But 18-year-olds today are a lot less robust and worldly wise.” – Dr Anthony Seldon, taken from The Independent article published on 6th March 2013.
It seems that higher education has a greater focus on developing academia than responsible adulthood. But there is a greater dimension to this problem, which Christian parents know all too well.
Spiritual Foundations – Sand or Rock
Our focus shouldn’t reflect the universities'. Yes, our young Christians are going to ultimately get a degree and then a decent job. But they are also going to discover themselves, become individuals and find their identities.
The parable of the two builders has never been more relevant than when a child moves away for the first time. The bumpy road to adulthood is undoubtedly paved with misguided mistakes, but repaired with experience-based learning. It’s on this defining passage into independent life where their spiritual foundation will be tested.
“Coming to university can reveal what our faith is really made of. Is it based on a real foundation connected to the bedrock of a personal relationship with Jesus? Or is it simply a house of cards that will fall down with the wind of change or the whiff of persecution?” – FRESH by Krish Kandiah.
Let’s get some perspective; university can either be a place where a young person’s faith thrives and flourishes or a place where their faith fades and crumbles. Just because your young people/child has chosen a university and is packing their bags doesn’t mean the end of their faith. You can help them build a solid foundation, one made of concrete not polystyrene.
We’d recommend placing this little book in their hands – FRESH. These daily inspirations are both practical and spiritual helps for the would-be fresher. It’s an essential guide to gripping to faith providing 5 weeks of ideas, Bible study and advice when starting university. Basically it’s like a faith-springboard.
As parents and youth workers, we can continually ram information into young people’s mind; but this little book is on their level, speaks their language and is by no means a ‘fluffy read’. It spells out that they have a choice:
“The following chapters will help as you decide which course to take: not which academic course, but which faith course – hearing Jesus’ words and living your own life, or hearing Jesus words and letting him lead the way.” – FRESH by Krish Kandiah.
Inside they’ll be encouraged to stick to their beliefs, get involved in the CU, find a church which reflects them and follow Jesus by building a firm foundation. So when you’re buying them a student railcard, plastic wallets and tea bags, consider investing in their faith course too.
March 21st, 2013 - Posted & Written by James Warwood