Worried that your faith isn’t as strong as it was since coming to college? It happens all the time. The college lifestyle inevitably disrupts your old rhythms, including the ones that kept your faith vibrant. So if you feel like you’re starting to struggle, or would just like to avoid slipping in the first place, the solution is easy. All it takes is to make a new weekly rhythm around three things: worshiping, studying, and sharing.
1. Worship once a week
Every person was made for worship. The need for worship pulses within our psyche. So there is no question of if you’ll worship, but what you’ll worship.
Taking time once a week to worship the only thing worthy of worship – God – will help keep your mind and spirit attuned toward God and away from all the little false gods that vie for our focus and adoration. Little idols like popularity, parties, dating, sports, and yes, even academic success.
Find a local church or campus ministry you can attend once a week that worships God in song and prayer. It doesn’t have to be the most exciting worship. It just needs to be Christ-focused worship.
2. Study once a week
We can only follow God so much as know what kind of God we’re following. If I want to live into God’s plan for my life, I need to know God’s will first.
The sermons you hear in worship may be great, but it’s a general rule that we only remember 20% of what we hear. Yet when we are able to ask questions about what we hear, discuss what we hear, and make a personal plan to apply what we hear – the percentage of what we remember goes up exponentially. By meeting with a small group, bible study, or mentor once a week, we can study who God is and what God wants for us in a way that will really stick with our hearts.
3. Share once a week
We live in a highly compartmentalized culture, where it’s now normal to keep parts of our life completely separate from one another.
Yet God reigns of over all of existence and can’t be sectioned off to just a quiet, private corner of our life. In fact, the more we compartmentalize God – whether its intentionally or by accident – the less real God will feel. One of the best antidotes to compartmentalizing our faith is simply to share our faith. No, this doesn’t (and shouldn’t) mean handing out tracts outside of class or bible-thumping your roommate.
Sharing our faith is just spontaneously bringing God into our daily conversations. Outside of planned worship or study, we talk about how our faith might relate to our lives. Whether applied to relationships, friend groups, academic majors, current events, or politics, God will feel more real and relevant.
When you do this at least once a week, you’ll find that talking about Jesus even with your non-Christian friends isn’t some intimidating showdown, but a seamless and natural expression of your identity.
But how long?
You probably want to know that if you make these three things part of your weekly rhythm, how long it will take to start getting your faith back?
Honestly, you probably can’t get it back to the way it was, nor do you want to. God wants to change and mature your faith, so expect some growing pains to be part of the process too. Still, in my experience with our collegiate worshiping community, any student who sticks to this rhythm for a semester will begin to see God’s Spirit return to you in ways that will not only challenge you, but give you a true and beautiful hope again.