University is an incredibly exciting new chapter in many people’s lives. It’s a step closer to fulfilling career dreams, an opportunity to make new friends and try new things. For a lot of people, it’s their first time living away from home. It gives a new level of independence, freedom, responsibility… and fun! It’s also a time where our faith can really grow, but also runs the risk of being shaken.
So, what are some ways that we can maintain our faith?
JOIN A CHURCH
Joining an actual church in the city or community that your university is in is sooooo important. It’s critical to gather with other believers for these reasons and to have access to spiritual guidance while you are away from your home/home church.
Joining a church allows you to see what God is doing in the community outside of the student body. Belonging to something that isn’t completely student-oriented is healthy and refreshing, and allows you to still live in the real world and connect with people of all different ages and life situations.
Get plugged in, serve on a team, join a midweek group, get to know leaders, families, older people! It will be so enriching, for you and them!
DEVELOP PERSONAL DEVOTION
If you haven’t already got one, working on a routine for your personal time of devotion will be invaluable while you are away at university.
Personal devotion can include Bible reading, prayer, intercession, worship, journaling, drawing, soaking and more – it is time undistracted with the Lord, speaking to Him and hearing from Him, and I’d urge you to decide on a set time each day and stick to it. It will ensure that when things get difficult or lonely, or you find yourself straying or struggling, you have a routine to come back to, and you can lean on the rich times you have already had.
It can be difficult, daunting even, but you can do it!
FIND FRIENDS IN THE FAITH
You’ll likely be leaving all of your friends behind, including your Christian friends. Thanks to today’s brilliant technology, you’ll definitely be able to keep in touch with all of them, which is amazing but there’s definitely value in building new friendships where you are (especially Christian ones!).
How? You can join the CU or another Christian students group. You can also ask God to bring people your way! In my first year I made some friends in my hall who were Christians, and we had our own weekly Bible study. We had some of the best times of worship together and were able to encourage each other so much!
Knowing Christians from church is great, but sometimes you just need to have people who are close by and on hand to pray with you and to speak life over you (whether it’s right before an exam, or at 2am when you feel like you want to give up!).
The worst thing you could do is think that to maintain your faith at university, you have to avoid fun at all costs. Clinging tightly to the rules will more than likely drive you away from faith, and cause you to be unhappy or isolated. Make new friends, try different things, study hard, enjoy the experience and cling tightly to Jesus. As you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. He’ll never leave you nor forsake you. Maintain your devotion and keep your heart warm towards him through being part of a regular, non-student fellowship, having your own personal devotion, and having Christian friends who are around you daily. Go in with a heart that wants to please Him and I know that He will help you do so – He’s with you and for you!