Schools, I am convinced, are some of the most lost places in society – colleges especially. In my two years at a community college, I witnessed firsthand just how lost these places can be. It was the first day of my public speaking class in my very first semester of college. My professor had us complete an exercise on what we believe and consider about ourselves. I was extremely excited when she asked the question “Who sees themselves as a Christian?” and the vast majority of hands in the room were raised. What I would grow to discover, however, is a generation of people who consider being “religious” or believing that a higher power exists as being the same thing as Christianity.
What do I see in schools? People who think they know what being a Christ-follower means, but do not actually understand it. Hope is not all lost, however. There are good Christians out there who are bold for Christ. If you know me personally, I talk about “that biology class” frequently. I do not enjoy math and science, but I made some incredible Christian friends in that class and I will always be grateful. These girls, along with a few other students here and there, were bold and spoke up for their faith. It was inspiring to see. One thing that I’ve learned from mission trips and working with children is that sometimes the best way to share the Gospel message is through your actions, rather than words. It is still extremely important to verbally share, but some people respond best to actions at first. While I do not know if these students ever verbally shared the Gospel on campus, they certainly shared it in their actions. They were kind, even when others were mean. They were loving, even when it was hard. They forgave when other students in the class made offensive comments.
I wish I could say that I have all the answers as how to we can get more strong believers like these into our schools, but I think the first step is by proactively training those students we do have in our youth ministries with the facts of the Gospel message. We cannot simply play games and go to summer camps and expect students to be strong in their faith, although those are fantastic ways to get new students in. They need to be equipped. If I may quote a verse that most everyone has heard at some point or another, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) Bold Christians do exist, we just have to help them hone their knowledge and give them the confidence to share with boldness, whether verbally or with actions.
Emboldened college students could truly start a revolution. How many times have we witnessed the millennial generation bring about change by their boldness in sharing their beliefs? Acts 4:13 discusses how God spoke through Peter and John and notes that people listening realized they had “been with Jesus.” The Lord speaks through you if you are bold enough to heed the call to share (Proverbs 28:1). This is the message we need to continue to fill our student ministries with. I cannot help but wonder how many more people could be touched by the boldness of students on campus. I think we can all agree that it is not always easy to speak up, but it is so important to learn how and when to do so.
[Savannah Hollifield served as Summer Intern at Metrolina Baptist Association this year – thanks, Savannah!]