I recently got back from Harmons, Jamaica with about 50 Greek students from Mizzou. It was an awesome week where I got to see Christ work in students’ lives in tremendous ways. It was a week where students on our team felt open and vulnerable to ask questions about their faith that they had never asked before; a week where people drew close to God, some for the first time. With all this said, it was also a week that caused me to reflect on how important it is to get plugged in to a college ministry.
The four years a person is in college is a short, but significant time in their life. For many, it is the first time that person is on their own, free from their parents. Therefore, it is the first time they have to take it upon themselves to decide on their own whether or not they’re going to get up on Sunday mornings and go to church, or go to a college ministry during the week rather than staying in. College is a unique chance to take a step back from your parents and what they have been teaching you and make your faith your own.
For me, college was at times a huge stumbling block in my faith, but also a time where I grew tremendously in my relationship with Christ, mostly through teaching at The Crossing and Veritas. Before college, I never really made my faith my own. I just went through the motions of what I saw my parents doing and never questioned them. When I came to college, I at first struggled with how to continue to grow in my relationship with the Lord without my parents and my church back home. I made rules and standards for myself that I said I could not break because I was a Christian. I didn’t fully understand grace. It wasn’t until I started going to The Crossing that I started to think through things that I had never thought about before, things such as theology and actually thinking deeply about what the Bible says and how the Gospel really does affect every area of my life. When I started to go to Veritas, I continued to grow in those areas and began to learn how to grow in my faith on my own. I began to understand the importance of having Christian community around me to encourage me in my relationship with the Lord and hold me accountable to things I was struggling with, something I was lacking at the time. At first, this was all foreign to me and felt very strange, but slowly God began to unveil the importance of thinking through all these things instead of just having a surface level relationship with him.
With all this said, by my senior year, I realized how important being involved in a college ministry was for my faith – not just going every week and leaving unnoticed, but actually getting involved and building friendships with those people, sharing my life with them and growing in my personal relationship with the Lord side by side with them.
One verse that comes to mind as I reminiscence on my involvement in Veritas and Vintage Greek as a college student is Psalm 42:1-2.
“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”
All through college, and even now, my soul longed and panted for God. My soul longed for a deeper relationship with Christ, and I found that through Veritas and Vintage Greek. My soul panted for community, and I found that as well. Through being involved in a college ministry while at Mizzou, I was able to draw closer to God in ways I never would have been able to do on my own, while also building relationships with people who in the end pointed me more towards Christ as well.