(Taken from Southern Baptist Texan, June 24, 2012)
VIDOR– College is a time when Christians have their faith challenged and even demeaned on secular campuses. So Tony Romero, director of Collegiate Ministries at FBC, Vidor, and Lance Crowell, SBTC church ministries associate, offered several tips for parents who want to help their children stay grounded to the faith through college:
> Realize that a Christian upbringing does not guarantee a strong walk with Christ through college. “No matter how well (parents) prepare their kid, no matter how awesome that kid was in church, and how exposed to the Scripture he was, whenever they graduate and go to school, [their faith] is going to have to become theirs.” Romero said. “They’re going to have to own it.” He added that Christian instruction at home and in a church youth group provides a “valuable foundation” for a godly living in college.
> Urge your children to participate in a Bible study with Christian peers during the college years. This is the best ways to solidify Christian faith in a student’s heart, Romero said. One key purpose of a college Bible study is to teach the overarching narrative of Scripture so students realize how the entire Bible fits together. “They need to be engaged in a Bible study among peers, “ he said. “Not a lecture, but rather a guided discussion where you have someone there who, it they start picking up some heresy, is able to address that. Crowell agreed that peer group Bible study is important, and he added that students should not isolate themselves from study opportunities with the larger church body.
.>Be patient. Your children are in an awkward phase between adolescence and adulthood.
“They’ve been told they’re adults, but they’re not really adults yet.” Romero said, “because they haven’t quite got the experiences that qualify them for adulthood. And they don’t really know who they are and what they want to do and where they want to go.”
> Don’t pressure your children into a certain career path. Teach them that security comes from walking with God, regardless of what job they choose. “They’re going to use this time in their life to discover what it is that God’s gifted them with that they’re going to find fulfillment in, “ he said.
>Help your children take on some “real-world” responsibilities in college to learn principles of decision making. “Give them a little bit of freedom to make the tough decisions without influencing every little thing they do,” Romero said. “When they fail, allow them to fail. They’ll learn from that. But so often, parents don’t want them to fail. So they’ll cushion everything, and then by the time it’s their turn to make really tough decisions, they’re either extremely indecisive or they fail and never get back up.” Find a church the student can invest in as well as connect with. “We believe that as hard as it is to find a new church and to connect well, they have to find a local body of believers in a local church to invest in. We see this as foundational for them and formative for them for years to come, “ Crowell said.*