Friday, November 22, 2013

Students and Second Spiritual Experiences

In my return to the college campus in my fifth season, one of the things I continue to hear and wrestle with is students' second spiritual experience.

When I ask students to share their spiritual story, many will say, "I became a Christian when I was 8 (or 9 or 10) and then when I was 17 or 18, I really got serious about it or really became a Christian or understood what it meant", etc. Some will describe it as a salvation experience and ask to be re-Baptized. Others will say, "I know it was real before....but...".

I have decided since I have heard this literally hundreds of times to let students label it whatever they want. I also don't begin to think I'm spiritually astute enough to tell them what it was or wasn't for them...salvation, rededication or what.

I call it "The Discipleship Decision". I believe young children can genuinely trust Jesus. I also know that young children can be stampeded down an aisle. They can go because they are supposed to or everyone else in their class is. It also makes sense to me that a young child who genuinely accepts Jesus as Savior does not have a clue about lifestyle discipleship, etc.

Psychologists say the two greatest times of change in a person's life are birth to one and high school graduation to Christmas. It makes a lot of sense to me that those that I know that are serious about their faith...many if not most...have made a "Discipleship Decision" about faith.

I think we must help students work this out, hear them with love and be careful to not tell the what it is. I would be very interested to know how other College Ministers work with this.

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