In everyone’s life, there are those defining moments or seasons that shape us dramatically. I can think of no more season of defining character and direction in life than the years spent at a university. The university season of life is designed to challenge, shape, and prepare a person for vocation and life itself.
As Christians, we believe that the shaping of the mind also involves the shaping of one’s character. The Book of Proverbs states, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” What goes into our minds will inevitably have a huge impact on the people we become.
At the same time, the secular universities, and even many so-called religious universities, are filled with the most liberal and irreligious professors on the planet. “But not all of them are that way,” you might protest. And I will concede that there are many fine professors, even Christian professors, in universities across our state. I would also suggest they are not in the majority—not even close.
Add to this the fact that your college students are, for the first time, experiencing a level of freedom they have never had. You, as parents, have guided them, prayed over them, invested in their intellectual and spiritual growth, and now you have dropped them off at the university. Your desire is for them to be educated in the discipline they have chosen that will lead to a good job and off your dime. All is good thus far.
When these students arrive at the universities, they no longer have the church youth group as support. The majority of influences in their lives will be devoid of the Christian worldview. What the professors say in class will be far from the values you hold and want for your children to grasp. The Bible and the truths you hold dear will, in some cases, be trampled and considered antiquated nonsense.
Okay, so I have painted a pretty dismal picture, but if you are honest, I am not out of bounds or far from the truth.
So how can parents ensure their young students are shaped by the right values? Where can these young people find a counter-balance of truth for their lives? Where can they go on a university campus to find a safe place to wrestle with the alternative and contrary views presented to them? I think I can give you a good answer.
I encourage you to do more than move your students to the university and then drive away. I suggest you walk with them to the Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) on their campus and introduce them to the leaders. Send your student’s name and campus address to the BCM on their campus. The BCM leadership will follow-up with them and seek to get them involved.
What will your students find at the BCM? They will find godly leaders who care about them, and upperclassmen and women who will take an interest in their intellectual and spiritual growth. Your students will find Christian friends who will walk with them through the maze of wrong-headed thought and help them seek truth. They will find a place to grow spiritually and worship fervently. Your students will be challenged to be on mission during their university years. Oh, and they just might find their life-long Christian mate.
Yes, the intellectual and spiritual challenges are great at universities. Students cannot only be trained for a career, but also trained to live a victorious Christian life in the midst of an upside-down world.