3 Reasons I Needed Christian Community in College
DID YOU KNOW: 70% of first-year college students walk away from their faith during their first year of college.
I was one of the 70% of students.
It was my first year of college and my mom had just helped me move into my little dorm. Many hugs and tears later, I waved goodbye, and a very profound emptiness settled into my stomach. Feeling completely foreign and vulnerable, I turned to the strangers down my dorm hall to fill the hole in my heart. The entirety of my first year of college looked exactly like this: I turned to any and everything to fulfill and validate me.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I put a lot of my heart on the line and gave people permission to juggle it by investing in unhealthy friendships. I fell into the party scene, started skipping class, began dating around, and so on. In result I fell into a downhill cycle night after night, feeling even emptier than the night before. The worst thing of all, I was completely blind and continued to put myself in situations that brought me this heartache.
Because of this, I want to share with you 3 reasons I needed Christian community not only during my freshman year but also the rest of my college career (and life).
1) Relationship. Proverbs 27:17
If I had invested in a Christian community instead, I would have avoided a lot of hurt. Christian community is safe and inviting and would have answered many of my identity questions, and much more gracefully than the college party environment. Being in a Christ-centered group, my heart would have been protected and pointed to pursue a relationship with the only thing that can truly provide me with the fulfillment that I was so desperately seeking: Christ. As Proverbs 27:17 tells us, friends like this sharpen, encourage, and grow alongside you. We NEED each other because our walks look so different and we all hold our own unique relationship with God, and sometimes our friends need to help us out in areas we may not know we need help with, and visa versa. The good news is, when Christ is truly the center, these friends multiply again and again!
2) Foundation. Luke 6:47-49
Turning to a community like this would have provided me with a foundation to live by. As mentioned above, doing life with people who also have their minds set on Christ will make the uprooting process a lot more doable. You may be thinking, uprooting process? Being human, we become accustomed to our ways of life and the thought of uprooting and changing these ways is oftentimes the leading reason why people are so turned away from their faith. But the truth is, and Christ-centered friends help remind us of this: God’s way is one million bazillion times better than ours and brings so much joy (plus eternal life…amiright!!!).
Truth says in Luke 6:47-49 that when we allow God to tell us who we are, we are unshakeable and well built, like a sturdy house built on a rock foundation. In contrast, this scripture explains that we are easily broken and invaded by the “flood” like a house built without a foundation.
3) Outreach. Proverbs 12:11, Proverbs 13:20
Acquiring those friendships and trusting in that solid foundation will bring you so many fruitful, God-given opportunities! Before you know it, you will be growing exponentially because of the joy you feel.
A mentor of mine explained this to me when I was a freshman and I was totally overwhelmed. I wasn’t feeling the amazing joy that she was describing or experiencing the freedom and it was terrifying. I thought, how can I get that?
As I reflect back, I realize that I wasn’t submerging myself in a Christian community. A plant can’t grow without something feeding it. Proverbs 12:11 says that we will flourish we pursue things of the spirit, but when we pursue things of the world, well, those things are worthless and we will feel the same. I wasn’t going to feel that joy or experience the freedom until I chose to surround myself by people who were. Proverbs 13:20 says we are who we surround ourselves with. If I want to be wise, I should hang around people who are wise—and when I hang around people who are foolish, I shouldn’t be surprised when my life doesn’t seem as fruitful.
Delight. Proverbs 13:20
Before attending Delight I called a different ministry “home.” I fell in love with Jesus through this ministry, but found myself beginning to pursue the people in the ministry more than I pursued God, and finally I came to realize it wasn’t the place for me. So I ran and was homeless from ministry for a while, which is when I turned away from my faith.
But THEN! Delight. A few girls on my college campus decided to start a Delight chapter on our campus. Broken, I walked into the doors of my first Delight meeting. I was terrified, afraid that I would just get further away from God. But I walked out of those doors armored and reminded of grace by a group of girls who only God could have equipped me with. Every week as we discussed the Delight stories and connected them to our own, the Holy Spirit FILLED the room. These girls became some of my best friends, sisters.
To the girl who’s feeling like I did when I first walked into those Delight doors, broken and wounded: same, girl. But God!
Do you feel called to lead on your campus?
We’re looking for women like YOU to launch and lead a Delight chapter at your university. If you are looking for Christ-centered community on YOUR campus and are wondering - am I the girl for the job? The answer is YES! We’d love to chat with you about taking that first step into leadership. To learn more about starting a Delight chapter on YOUR campus, click the button below!
Hey sister! I’m Mallorie Shearer. I’m from Marion, Indiana but am finishing up my last year of college in Indianapolis. Aside from my love for Jesus, some my favorite things include coffee, good books and podcasts, time outside, and writing! Writing serves as my creative outlet and is one of the best ways I can express how God is working in my heart. What I treasure the most is my worship time, which is usually (oddly) during my jogs, in church, or around a circle with some of my closest sister friends. I also love to lead bible studies and serve on many different leadership teams, hoping to reflect Jesus’s heart as much as I can!