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Worth Everything: The Value of Pursuing God on Campus
For college students, campus life is a wide-open arena of exciting opportunities: new interests to explore, people to meet, ideas to discuss, even studies to dive into.
The vast array of options available, and the limited time you have to give, poses a good question for busy students: Why should you want to start or grow a relationship with Jesus during college? With so many opportunities around, what value does pursuing obedience to God hold?
In InterVarsity’s 75 years of ministry on college and university campuses, we’ve seen hundreds of thousands of students choose to grow in Christian faith in college. Here are just four (of many) ways that we believe you’ll be transformed by making Jesus a priority.
1. It roots you deeper.
Few of us arrive at college as fully formed people. The transition from high school to college wipes our slate clean, in a sense, and gives us a chance to re-ask the question “Who am I?” in a place where many of the things and people that once answered the question—family, school hierarchy, childhood church—are no longer present.
This is a recipe for growth and freedom. But it can also create a dilemma: If college uproots everything, as it often does, it can also cause us to be blown around by anything. Go here, read this, join that. Listen here, explore this, become that.
Many students get lost searching for meaning and identity in new activities and friendships. Seeking God first roots your identity in transcendent, never-changing realities: God is real. You are loved. You have a purpose. As you explore the “Who am I?” question, it helps to have deep roots in a core identity that can never change. Only God can give you this.
2. It fills you fuller.
The campus is a lively place, full of ideas and discussion, creativity and innovation. It has a special energy, one that can feel like being immersed in pure electricity.
That energy alone, however, cannot sustain a human soul. Students who live this way in college—bumping from club to club, party to party, discussion to discussion—eventually burn out.
The process of growing in faith in Christ, on the other hand, pours new and unending reserves of life into you. Jesus said that, for anyone who believes in him, “rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By pursuing faith in college, you connect yourself with the only source of true life, which fills you and helps you enjoy the energy of campus in a healthy way.
3. It grows you larger.
College often suffers from the perception that it is mostly about career training. This is not true.
You are more than what you’ll do for a job. Your education, therefore, is about more than just training you to make money and build widgets. It’s also about preparing you emotionally, intellectually, behaviorally, for life as a reasonably healthy adult. Basically, it’s about becoming bigger on the inside.
By making faith a priority in college, you partner with your school in amplifying your growth as a whole person. Spiritual growth helps you develop an interior life of reflection and intensity; understand transcendent virtues like love, hope, and mercy; and grow familiar with the great questions of humanity, such as, “Why am I here? For what purpose? How am I to live?”
Even more, Christian faith helps you do all that in relationship with your Creator, who rightly reorders your passions and priorities and equips you with the tools—repentance, grace, wisdom—to pursue long-term, long-lasting growth as a disciple of Jesus.
4. It bonds you tighter.
We are all searching for places where we feel at home, and people whom we feel at home with. We want to belong, to feel known, to be cared for. College is full of opportunities to find and connect with others through majors and clubs, Greek systems and service organizations, classes and teams.
Community happens in shared space, during shared time, answering shared questions. But, in a lot of shared spaces and activities, it’s easy to only talk about things on a surface level, whether that’s the logistics of an event you’re planning or stats from your latest basketball game.
Faith communities are different. InterVarsity brings people together who want to know answers to deeper questions in life: Who is God? What does that mean for my life? What is my purpose? Because spiritual questions connect to every area of our lives, Christian communities on campuses, while by no means perfect, can go deeper, faster—even while they’re having fun.
Moreover, we seek to build communities that reflect God’s mosaic of cultures and ethnicities. Certain things can only be learned alongside other people. Intentionally multiethnic communities create space for you to learn, firsthand, how to extend love to all people, not just ones who look and think like you.
By pursuing spiritual growth during college, you embed yourself in pockets of campus where genuine connections flourish, and where people want to love others well, have fun, and ask important questions in diverse community.
Find Your Purpose
College is about learning—learning about yourself, learning career skills, and learning truth.
Every lecture, every paper, every class is an attempt—sometimes successful, sometimes not—to help you think more deeply about truth. The more truth you understand, the more clearly you see the world. You can begin, as Plato said, to “carve nature at its joints.”
By pursuing God in college, you learn how to see the world at its very clearest, as God intended it to be seen: with himself at its center. You’ll understand more fully who you are, why you are the way you are, why others are the way they are, why the world is so broken, and what it needs to be fixed again. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” Once you are equipped to understand the world with God’s truth, you become exponentially more skilled at navigating every part of life—both the one you have now on campus, and your future one after graduation.
Ready to start learning more about faith and God? Find an InterVarsity chapter on your campus!