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Growing Spiritually in College

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Growing Spiritually in College

January 15, 2016

Man with arms spreadIn today’s post, guest writer Aaron Cook, Director of Discipleship Ministries at Cedarville University, shares how his experience as a student at Cedarville changed his life, and how Cedarville is still intentionally changing students’ lives today.

In the fall of 1995, I began my journey on the campus of Cedarville University. Little did I know what a profound impact the next four years would have on the trajectory of my life. As I transitioned from feeling like the “leader of the pack” as a senior in high school to a “little fish in a big pond,” I was overwhelmed with a host of questions. In my four years at Cedarville, were all of my questions answered? Some were, but many more were added to the list. What I did come away with was a biblical philosophy of thinking and the understanding and desire to become a lifelong learner.

I am convinced that many students entering their college years arrive with a list of questions somewhat like mine: Who am I? Is there meaning in the world? If God is good, how can He allow all this pain? What should I do with my life? What will I believe? Will I depart from the philosophy with which I was raised? Whom should I marry? … and the list goes on. Many are like me, and are simply looking for answers to their questions. I did receive that, and so much more. 

The college years are pivotal in shaping a student’s worldview. Our worldview is the lens with which we use to interpret and define the world around us. These years can be a spiritual greenhouse where students can learn to build their “houses on the rock” (Matt. 7:24–27), or they may choose to follow the world and anti-God philosophies. The question is not whether students will be influenced, but by whom and in what direction.

During my time at Cedarville, I learned to “take delight in the Lord” (Ps. 37:4) like never before. He began to replace my desires with His desires, as I was increasingly immersed in God’s Word through daily chapel, Bible classes, believing friends, and faculty and staff who intentionally built into my life from an eternal perspective. “Delighting in the Lord” from that moment until now has continued to flavor all of my thinking and decision-making.

Not every experience will mirror my own. However, three key ingredients exist at Cedarville that make it an atmosphere conducive to profound transformation toward Christlikeness: 

  1. Immersion in the Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16–17, 2 Cor. 3:18)
  2. Intentional Christ-focused relationships (2 Tim. 2:2, 1 Thess. 5:14) 
  3. Involvement in a variety of ministry opportunities to use and develop gifts while being the hands and feet of Christ (Matt. 28:18–20)

As I think back on the spiritually rich time I spent as a student at Cedarville, I am overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude that God saw fit to bring my family to join Cedarville’s staff the summer of 2014. As I consider what lies ahead, I am thrilled to be a part of this grand endeavor to make disciples. As a team, we seek to make disciples that are self-initiating and committed to reproducing disciples of Jesus Christ who will live to make much of Him.

I cannot help but pray that our lives would collectively echo the desire of the Apostle Paul when he said to the Colossian church:

“To them God chose to make known … the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works in me” (Col. 1:27–29).


Aaron CookAaron Cook graduated from Cedarville University in 1999 with a comprehensive Bible degree and is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity through Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He served as Program Director at Scioto Hills Christian Camp for years before returning to Cedarville in 2014 as the Director of Discipleship Ministries.

Posted in Spiritual Growth Why Christ Centered Higher Education?