What comes to mind when you imagine attending a secular college as a Christian? Do you think of the scene in God’s Not Dead where the character, Josh Wheaton, is having an epic debate with his professor about God’s existence?
I remember thinking before my first semester that I would be ready to battle it out with any professor at any given time, if necessary. I was prepared to fight. However, my expectations versus the reality of the situation were two very different things.
My experience was not nearly as dramatic as Josh Wheaton’s debate with the professor, but I did feel the pressure of being one of few Christians in a setting where God was not welcome. There was a sense of comradery because the college itself was small, and the staff and faculty promoted a sense of community. On the surface, it was a very appealing notion. They came across as a tight knit family, but I quickly found out it wasn’t the kind of family I, or any Christian, belonged in: it wasn’t united under God.
Just like the rest of the world, there is so much focus on material things; choosing the right degree to get a good job and make as much money as possible. There was no discussion about God’s will for students’ lives. There was absolutely no inclusion of Him at all, as a matter of fact; except when a professor once made a bold claim that the story of Jesus’ death was inaccurate and impossible. This separation of God from school resulted in more pressure and lack of direction.
It was through this experience that God revealed the importance of putting Him first in everything- especially at this vital stage in our lives- and the peace that comes with it. We don’t have to do this alone: He is with us every step of the way as we choose a major and pursue His will for our lives. We may stumble and make mistakes along the way, but He will see us through it.
At Regent University I am surrounded by others who are chasing after God, and it is so refreshing. God is welcomed in and out of the classroom. Questions I hadn’t even thought to ask are answered. Professors, Life Group leaders, and R.A.’s encourage us to read our Bible as well as seek His guidance in all areas of our lives- not just on Sundays.
We are not expected to be perfect, but challenged to put God first.
Yes, it is important to be a light in the dark. We are not supposed to completely isolate ourselves from non-Christians. That’s not what Jesus did. However, it is vital that we come together as brothers and sisters in Christ to build each other up and encourage one another.
Just as my idea of secular college was different from the reality, going to a Christian college was not exactly what I expected: It is much better!