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All too often, college-age people, whether in college or not, can be forgotten in the church.

I’m jumping right into this topic. It is a topic I am passionate about for many reasons. First, I’ve been there and done that as a college student. Second, my husband is a college pastor, and I take his call to ministry and supporting and serving alongside him seriously. Third, no one age group should be left out of the church or not prioritize the importance attending a church.

I recently read an article that said, “Saying you like Jesus but hate the church is like saying you like your best friend but can’t stand to spend time around them.” Too often, college age students say this about the church as a cop out. I’m here to say why loving the Lord and his people, the church, and attending the church is an integral part of your relationship with Christ.

At this season in life, young adults are faced with making decisions that will affect the rest of their lives. This is a time that the Lord is needed in every aspect of their lives. To lean on, to pray to, to seek for guidance, to seek for comfort, should I go on? He does it all.

This is why finding a church home while in college, as well as some sort of on-campus ministry, is of the utmost importance.

Some students struggle with the feeling that they are cheating on their home church if they start going to a new church in their college town. This couldn’t be more wrong! I did this, myself, for a little while, and often times, making the 45-minute drive to church didn’t happen, as I first intended. So, not finding a local church resulted in me just not going to church on Sundays. Honestly, I was just being lazy and fearful of the unknown.

I urge any and all students reading to get connected in a church body that you can truly make your new home away from home. That doesn’t mean anything bad about your home church; it just means you need a local body of believers to encourage you, miss you if you don’t make it one week and just walk alongside on your journey with Christ.

I will be the first to tell you that on-campus ministries are paramount in your walk with Christ throughout your college years. Baptist Collegiate Ministries was a big part of my time at school, and I look back fondly on those days because of the friends made and growing I did as a Christ follower through the BCM.

You see, college is a liberating time in your life. Things in life that haven’t been available to you before are now there for the taking or to experience. This is why you MUST surround yourself with positive people who will uplift you, make you better and ultimately draw you closer to the Lord.

If you don’t choose wisely, you can find yourself in sticky situations. I know how hard or lonely it can be sometimes to be a Christ follower in a university setting.

So, find a ministry on campus, make friends and spend all kinds of time rejoicing in the wonderful relationships with which the Lord will bless you. Then, you won’t be lonely, and you won’t be alone in your beliefs.

Next, find a church home that you can regularly attend.

Once you find church home, start to serve. As a body of believers, the job of the church is not to serve you. It is so you can serve others and grow together as we go out and disciple others. So whether serving at your new church home looks like holding sweet babies in the nursery, or singing on the worship team, get involved.

The more involved you are, the more people you will know. And, after a while, you’ll begin to find yourself at home away from home. You’ll find comfort in knowing the same smiling faces will be there week after week, and they expect you to be there too!

It might be hard, and you might not find the church for you right away. Stay the course. Allow the Lord to guide you through prayer and an open heart. Whatever church you find will not be perfect. It will be a body of imperfect people, with one thing in common, we serve a perfect Lord. I guarantee you, you won’t regret taking this pivotal step in your relationship with Christ.