Wednesday, January 1, 2014

If You Have Kids that Go to College, They Probably Don't Go to Church!

Seven out of ten high school seniors active in church, have no spiritual connection in college. So, odds are that includes your son or daughter. Why is that?

I speak at lots of Senior Sunday Lunches and I share this statistic....the parents always sit there and smile at me. At first, I thought they probably weren't listening. Then, my wife suggested they probably thought that that three out of ten was their son or daughter. Since then, I've realized the third possibility....they don't care!

I don't mean to be harsh. But, I've realized that many parents don't expect spiritual connection in college because they had none when they went to college....and they came back to church. I think in some way or other that message is communicated....we know you won't go to church or the campus ministry and it's ok.

There's two problems with this. First, if they do come back, they bring the issues that they developed while they were away from the Lord and spiritual influence. They make life choices and often pick a spouse during this "vacation from God". But, here's the worse news.....these days most that go away during college aren't coming back.

Here's a less than perfect suggestion....parents should expect and communicate that they expect spiritual involvement in college. Just like we communicate an expectation of good grades or keeping those scholarships, we expect them to be connected to spiritual influences. That means asking questions about grades, going to class and attendance at a campus ministry and or church.

But, here is the step that proceeds that. While they are in high school, don't expect any spiritual practice or participation that both parents don't practice. When you expect them to be in Bible study and worship, you be there too. Want them to go on Wednesday night....then you go too. I've spoken to lots of Youth events where high schoolers were filling a seat.....but, they weren't there!

A message many high schoolers are getting is that high school graduation is also graduation from church. Don't expect anything from your high schooler or college students you don't practice. Will this guarantee your son or daughter's involvement in college.....sadly no....but, it does increase the odds! Then they know you mean it when you ask about it and expect it.

If you have a son or daughter going off to college in a few weeks, you can make sure the Baptist Campus Minister (there are more than 800 nation wide) has their contact information or contact the College Minister at a local church. Many of these are mailing, emailing, calling and texting information about Welcome events during this time shortly before school starts.. What a student does their first three weeks of their freshman fall goes a long way toward determining their path and practices while in college.

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