By Anonymous

Tips for Recent InterVarsity Alumni

Dear 2012 Alumni,

You’re on a journey that nobody can truly prepare you for. Maybe you participated in the graduating senior small group study Following Jesus in the Real World by Richard Lamb or maybe you attended the conference with workshops for graduating seniors.

Heck, you may even be on staff as an intern.

But, the truth is, no one can truly tell you what to expect after leaving a college fellowship and joining the rest of the adults in post-college life. Each experience will be different, even if you choose the same path as your peers.

But from my personal experience, there are some things I wish I were aware of when I said goodbye to InterVarsity as a student. So here they are: my top three tips for any recent InterVarsity alumni!

Your new home church will not be your college fellowship experience

Whether you return to your home church or you start church hopping for one to call home, don’t expect it to look like InterVarsity. I have yet to find a church that will sing worship songs in ten thousand different languages or study the Bible with highlighters, colored pencils, and glitter pens. They are few and far between and probably started by InterVarsity alumni. But just because your new small group doesn’t do inductive Bible study doesn’t mean they don’t understand the Bible.

Have an open mind when checking out churches and don’t be too quick to try to change your home church into IVCF Parte Deux.  But don’t settle either. If your heart is yearning for a ministry that reaches out to the homeless and the church has one too many small groups that meet up to  do zumba, don’t hesitate to try to make it happen. You are an InterVarsity alumnus. We pride ourselves in being world changers. Start at home.

Just be prepared to ruffle some feathers. You’ll end up finding a great in between where the church's cultural strengths meets the growing, developing passions in you.

Embrace and value your non-Christian friendships.

After hanging out and living mostly with InterVarsity folks all through college, it may seem that all of your friends are Christian. However, unless your future career is in a church or another Christian organization, it’s very likely you’ll have to interact much more with the secular world. And I don’t mean creating GIGs in the workplace right away (while that is all fine and dandy). Get to know people who don’t know Jesus and get to know them more than some sort of evangelism project.

I’ve learned a lot about myself as a Christian from my interactions with my non-Christian friends as well as some interesting thoughts on God. I’ve learned to be vulnerable with these friendships and in turn, helped them see much more of what living a life as a Christian really is by being honest with imperfections and struggles. These friendships have opened my eyes to the fact that I had always been in a bubble, a bubble that had me speaking Christian-ese and made it hard for non-Christians to want to get to know me, let alone the God I worship. Be a real human being and a real friend to people who aren’t Christians.

Be willing to change.

I don’t know how else to title this last point, but you’re not going to be 20-something forever.

You’re not going to have the same energy you had in the dorms or at conferences or worshiping all night long at Urbana. Your life is going to slow down and you may not feel as “on fire” for God as you did as a college sophomore leading your first Bible study. And I can’t stress this enough, but that is okay.

Your life is constantly going to change from this point on and so will your relationship with God. Whatever guilt you may feel for not studying the Bible as often as you used to or not serving the church in the capacity that you served in InterVarsity does not mean you are less godly, less spiritual, or less loved by God. Worship is going to look different because you are going to be different.

You will experience new pains and sufferings and you will experience new joys and blessings.  You’re not going to process those things with God or your community in the same way you used to because you will most certainly be a different person even in a few years out of college. Be willing to let go of the college you and take a step towards whatever kind of adult God is developing in you as you step into this new chapter of life.

This anonymous alumna also wrote the post "InterVarsity Ruined My Life."

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