8 Challenges Christians Face in College
Every generation of young adult Christians between the ages of 18-23 have had their own unique challenges. Yet with the advent of social media, proliferation of sexual immorality, the breakdown of the traditional family, and advancement of ignorance about God—there’s much more provocation to turn away from the truth than to stand up for it.
But there’s hope—the world is ever-changing, but God is not. The Lord doesn’t fret about the plight of the next generation. Rather this is the time for great potential of spreading the gospel and building the kingdom of God. What are the challenges faced in college? And how can students overcome and shine the glory of God?
#1) Finding other like-minded believers
“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble” (1 Peter 3:8).
College-age believers must be careful and alert to teachings that comprise sound doctrine with humanism or secular culture. While it may take time to find a group of like-minded believers, chances are that others are also seeking out for those who love God’s truth and want to live it daily. Pray and be on the lookout for those God will send your way.
#2) Resisting temptation in a sin-saturated environment
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Being away from home without restraints can lead many students away from the faith. Temptations are specific to each individual which requires honesty about your weaknesses. There’s always a way out if the you’re willing to submit and trust in God to help you get through it.
#3) Dealing with professors/administration that are antagonistic towards the faith
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander” (1 Peter 3:15-16).
Many students suffer unfair grading simply because they professed their faith in God—and that’s the few that have the courage to speak up. However the “go along, to get along” mindset is constantly being challenged by courageous young people. The professor has limited authority in the classroom, yet the highest authority belongs to God who is able to make all grace abound to those who remain unashamed of Christ.
#4) Staying true to their beliefs
“So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man” (Acts 24:16).
In order to not violate their conscience, young adults may need to step away from ungodly influences which may include the breaking off of relationships, moving to a different room, or dropping certain classes. While they may be accused of being weak in the eyes of the world, they are considered wise beyond their years.
#5) Committing to a local fellowship of believers regularly
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews10:24-25).
Sometimes Christian students feel a great sense of loyalty to their home churches so they’re hesitant to fully commit to a local ministry on campus. Yet the church of Christ is greater than any one location. By serving and fellowshipping at a church on campus, students can grow up to know the diversity of the body of Christ.
#6) Discovering their calling and/or purpose
“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble” (2 Peter 1:10).
Even though many students have an idea of their future career, some struggle with what is their calling or purpose in ministry. Since every follower of Jesus is gifted spiritually—those who earnestly seek after God’s direction will find their purpose for this life. The key to this discovery is to wait patiently and expectantly on God’s revelation in His perfect timing.
#7) Walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh
“Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
In this time before marriage and children, it’s easy to fall into the mindset of only thinking of oneself. However this is the most opportune time to get to know God without distraction. It’s when young people take the initiative to love and serve others (especially those in the household of faith)—that walking in the Spirit becomes a way of life.
#8) Maintaining their Christian identity in attitude, focus, and witness
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).
One of the most unique experiences of college life is the discovery of self-identity. For those who’ve spent most of their childhood in the shadow of their parent’s beliefs—this is their time to fully mature into their own Christian identity. A growing relationship with God based on prayer, Bible study, and Christian fellowship establishes a solid identity in Christ for a lifetime.
Are you being challenged?
It’s not always a bad thing. In fact, the adversity faced during this season of life can stretch a young believer to mature in the faith and bring about a freshness in their relationship with God. Face every challenge with the hope that God will use it to bring you to a deeper knowledge and relationship with Jesus Christ.
Article by Crystal McDowell
Crystal McDowell is a writer, speaker, and teacher with a passion to encourage believers to know and grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ through practical application of God’s word.
Crystal and her husband, Marshall, raise their five children in the Bloomington, IL. As a freelance writer and editor for over 13 years, Crystal has published numerous Christian curriculums for Sunday School and VBS as well as many articles dealing with marriage, motherhood, and relationships. She’s a weekly staff writer for www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com as well as writing her own blog at http://crystalmcdowellspeaks.blogspot.com.