Growing Spiritually in College
January 6, 2014
In today's post, guest writer, Mark Irving, Director of Discipleship Ministries at Cedarville University, highlights four foundational elements to encourage spiritual growth during the college years.
The college years are a pivotal time for Christian young people. While far too many choose to abandon their faith during the college years, others become strengthened in their walk with God. What makes the difference? What are the keys to spiritual growth as a college student?
As I reflect on my own college experience, and observe numerous students at Cedarville University who are energized in their faith, four things stand out to me as foundational for spiritual growth during these crucial years:
1. Regular and meaningful interaction with God’s Word
I look back with fondness on how God’s Word came alive for me during my college years at Cedarville University. Although I had grown up in church, a senior student challenged me during my freshmen year to begin reading the Bible for myself. Doing so, in combination with the impact of daily chapels, Bible classes, and local church involvement, precipitated a rapid spiritual growth spurt in my life. Apart from the active influence of God’s Spirit through the His Word, college students easily fall prey to the many temptations and distractions that the enemy throws at this age group in our culture. Regular and meaningful interaction with God’s Word is seminal to spiritual growth.
2. Godly friendships
As in high-school, the influence of peers remains strong throughout the college years. 1 Corinthians 15:13 is correct when it says that bad company corrupts good character. As I look around campus, the students who seem most mature in their faith almost always have a group of godly friends surrounding and encouraging them.
3. Relationships with godly role-models / mentors
While my parents provided a good foundation for my faith, it was the discipleship of several mentors during my college years that God used to solidify my commitment to Jesus.
4. Engagement in ministry
I would argue that it is impossible to mature in your faith without engagement in ministry. Jesus didn’t just say, “Come, follow me.” He said, “Come, follow me, AND I will make you fishers of men! “ As one of my mentors told me, “If you’re not fishing, you’re not following.”
One of the reasons that I am so excited about working at Cedarville University
is that it provides a wonderful environment for each of these four components of spiritual growth. Not only did I experience it in my own life during my college years, but I now have the immense privilege of being part of that process in the lives of others. I love my job!
Mark Irving is the Director of Discipleship Ministries at Cedarville University. He graduated from Cedarville in 1994 and then continued his education at Dallas Theological Seminary, graduating in 1999. Mark has a passion for making eternal investments into the lives of the college students on Cedarville's campus. He and his wife Meredith cherish their three beautiful daughters and love being around the Cedarville atmosphere.