ARTICLES

Sink, Splutter or Swim – Student Survival

August 4, 2012

Today’s guest post is from Dave Gobbett, the Lead Minister of Highfields Church in Cardiff, Wales.


The opening weeks at university can be a challenge of Olympic proportions. And while three or four years on, everyone can see the difference between a now thriving spiritual Michael Phelps and a barely surviving spiritual also-swam, back on day one, everyone looked the same. Same bright eyes full of opportunity, same anxious anticipation at the prospect of leaving home, same exhilaration at being let loose in a kitchen for the first time.

For the Christian student, additional early emotions await.

Excitement: How might God use me this year to be salt and light for him at college?

Nervousness: How will my faith survive the belligerent attacks from lecturer or roommate?

Realism: How will I resist the varying temptations in the computer lab or at the dorm party?

But still, many students will look the same. Of course, inside, some are terrified. Terrified of being found out—intellectually, socially, spiritually. What if they realize I’m not as bright as they are? What if they guess my background is less impressive than I’m trying to project? What if someone finds out I’m a committed Christian & actually asks me about it?!?

What a great relief the gospel is as relevant the first day of university as much as the first day of belief. The gospel says I’m loved not because I’m clever (or appear clever); not because I’m socially impressive (or have an embarrassing family); not even because I’m great at evangelism (or in fact terrified, like most of us): but because of God’s free grace in Jesus Christ.

So my advice as you start out this year:

Be yourself: Don’t try to impress others with your past grades and your vast experiences.

Put Jesus first: Get that Bible open before class, join a church family as soon as you can, get on your knees before bed.

And be an agent of the gospel: speak it where you can (there are bound to be tons of opportunities, so nail your colors to the mast from the start); live it publicly from day one (very quickly, living or not living for Jesus will become obvious in a dorm); and dive into the greatest challenge of your life so far!

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