- 40% of you are going to church because you used to back home and consider churchgoing a "good habit" for a good life.
- 30% of you feel like you're "tagging along" with a group, but mostly to enjoy the social experience.
- 20% of you are looking for opportunities to serve and and give back to your community.
- 10% of you came for those free tacos they give out every other Sunday.
Whatever your reason, you want to visit several churches with the intent of settling down with a group of friends at a place where you can feel comfortable, stimulated, connected, peaceful, or spiritually-filled.
Some of you are already locked-in with a great place, and others of you are just starting this journey. I won't talk about it in this post, but I want you all to know that I struggled with this - I visited 22 churches before realizing what my priorities should've been in selecting one. For all of you preparing to walk out your own faith in college, I have something that might make your search a little easier. To help avoid the most common pitfalls students experience in finding their home, here are...
The 3 Questions You Shouldn't Ask When Finding A Church Home
1. "Did I Enjoy The Music?"
Some churches you visit may sing more hymns than you're used to. Maybe they don't use instruments, or maybe they play exclusively from the Hillsong Collection. You can choose to discover God in NEW ways when the opportunity is presented - and this church may be the one to help you make that step. Even with the excessive organ.
2. "Does The Pastor Agree With Everything That I Do?"
You disagree with this statement. This is bad. You need to get out of here. Quickly.
Take a deep breath. Once you have appropriately thought of all the core beliefs that make up your relationship with God and His plan, then you need to calm down and recognize one simple fact:
There is only one church that believes in everything that you do:
The church of You.
And that's a really bad place to be.
3. "Are All Of My Friends Going To Be There?"
However, in searching for a church, find the place where you can discover God and then share it with your friends, not the other way around.
Every student should create a divide between Baylor and Church, to help them focus on their relationship with God when they worship. Although I'd go so far as to say that this would be a great mindset to have all the time, it certainly doesn't help a college student focus on their personal walk when they treat going to church (and the subsequent trip to a brunch restaurant) as a social outing rather than a time for renewal.
Well, hypothetical inquirer, I present to you...
The 2 Questions You Should Ask When Finding A Church Home
1. What Does God Actually Say?
- Psalm 85:8
Listening to God's plan for your life (only part of which includes selecting a church for four years) involves setting aside your wants and actively praying for guidance.
It will never be easy, and will rarely play out how you expected. But the results will always be beyond compare.
2. Will I Find A Family Here That Will Help Me Discover God?
- 1 Corinthians 12:12-13
Above is a picture of the newest part of my church family - four students, one graduate, and one college pastor who walked through life together as they helped transform the image of their new home in an incredible story of God's planning and grace.
Find an older member to pour into you. Find a younger member and show him or her the mysteries of God's love. Be a part of a family that will help you be accountable to a life of service and worship.
You will find a church family in Waco. After all, the church is not a building, a sermon, a musical performance, or a set of rituals.
It's a body of people. So find yours.
I hope this brings you encouragement and prepares you for some of the best years of your life. Whether you are a student at Baylor or anywhere else, I would encourage you to share this poem with them to give them some fire as they begin their journeys.
I am excited for all of you. Sic 'em.