Toolbox

First of all, let me assure you that you wont fall away just by attending a certain college or university. You make the choice! It is helpful if you have these things secure before you graduate so you dont just become a statistic, but rather someone who makes a difference for the Kingdom.

Six Key Things You Need:

1. A faith that is your own
– Review what you have learned in church, from the Bible, from your family, from your friends about God. Is your faith yours or are you living it out for someone else. To own something you must possess it. If you dont possess it, it can be easily taken away.

2. Have a good overview of the Bible
– At college, students are confronted with atheism, agnosticism, Islam. All seem to offer comprehensive worldviews that challenge her hodgepodge of devotional ideas. All seemingly make sense of the world in their own unique way.

If unprepared, Christians can feel overmatched, confused, and even embarrassed. A big-picture grasp of the Bible allows you to articulate in a few sentences – a deep (and wide) explanation of human experience.

Christianity begins with God and his love, moves tragically to human rejection of God, then begins anew with Israel and crescendos into Jesus’ death and resurrection. It culminates in the restoration of all things. Those who participate in faith live in God’s presence forever. Those who don’t, don’t.

Check out “The Bible at a Glance” from IV for a good “cheat sheet.” You can go a long way in college as a Christian having a greater overview of God’s redemptive plan.

3. Inductive Bible study skills – Using observation, interpretation and application, you can build in some great skills for keeping your faith active and growing in the Word.

• Observation: Scrutinizing the text for its basic facts and grammatical construction.
• Interpretation: Discerning what the text probably meant in its ancient context.
• Application: Allowing the text to speak relevantly to one’s personal life and church.

Using the inductive method helps you approach the text with an unbiased approach. However, be careful not to allow your own preconceived ideas to make the text say what you want. There are thousands of years of scholars and helps that can aide in understanding scripture contextually. This usually happens in the interpretation stage.

4. A Gospel Outline
– An outline of the gospel functions as an evangelistic tool to be memorized and shared easily with a nonChristian friend.

Here are a few that are useful and can be easily memorized.
Bridge Diagram (Navigators – Above)
Big Story (Intervarsity)
Four Spiritual Laws (Crusade)
Steps to Peace with God (Billy Graham Assoc.)

A Gospel Outline can be used in the clutch. It reduces “verbal meandering” and gives students confidence in sharing Christ.

5. A beginners Apologetic – This is helpful not only for maintaining faith in a challenging collegiate environment, but for sharing faith with others, perhaps along these lines:

1) Origins: Why Christianity, not atheism, provides the best explanation for the origin of the universe and human life.

2) Gospels: Why the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life can be trusted.

3) Religious Pluralism: Why multiple religions cannot all be true in the same respect.

Starter books in apologetics:
• Letters from a Skeptic by Greg Boyd
• Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Kreeft and Tacelli
• Faith is Like Skydiving by Rick Mattson

6. Get Connected – Doing faith on your own in a collegiate environment, or any environment for that matter, is not only difficult its not biblical. We are the Body of Christ as Paul states and we must be in community with other Christians that can help us grow in our faith with God and keep us on course.

It is said that withing 6 weeks (42 days) a student will determine their social connections and often their college life and overall life path. These first weeks are critical and if students come unprepared or unmotivated to connect with faith communities, the likelihood of falling away increases dramatically.

Making key decisions before one gets to college and immediately at college to connect to a strong faith community, is the difference between a plus and minus for the kingdom. Each year connected to God’s purpose builds the Kingdom. Each year away from God hurts the positive affect one could have had. Dont become part of the problem but rather part of the solution.

Can I encourage you as a future student to become part of God’s redemptive plan in this next stage of your life, whatever it may be?

LINKS to get connected:

Chi Alpha in MN
Chi Alpha in the US
All other campus ministries

*Thanks to our friend Rick Mattson from Inter Varsity for providing much of this outline