Emily Hall: 5 Bad and 5 Good Reasons to Attend a Christian College

There are so many great reasons to attend a Christian college! But believe it or not, there are also terrible reasons to choose that route, several borne out of the idea of following our deceitful-above-all-things heart (Jeremiah 17:9). Why not ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the best reasons you’re choosing a Christian college over a public one? This list isn’t definitive or absolute, but it can help you better understand your motives.

As Jeremiah writes just before declaring the heart deceitful, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-9)

Our prayer is that you will find – like I did – the kind of campus to help you grow precisely like that.

5 Terrible Reasons to Attend a Christian College:

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1. “I’m going to a Christian college because the odds are better for me to find a Christian spouse.”
1. “I’m going to a Christian college because the odds are better for me to find a Christian spouse.”

While they might not admit it, lots of people choose a Christian college for this reason. It’s probably mixed in with great stats about the school’s academics and other admirable details, but it’s really the top priority. And it’s true – the odds are more likely you’ll find a Christian spouse on a campus full of Christians. But since when does God provide based on the odds?

If finding a Christian spouse is a key factor for you in choosing a college, consider why you’re basing this decision on it.  Do you really trust God to provide all that you need to fulfill his good purpose for your life? It might be less likely, but it’s just as possible to find Christian friends and a Christian spouse outside a Christian college.

Consider also how you view marriage. If you graduate without a promise, engagement, or wedding ring, does that mean God had been unkind to you? Or would you still trust that he is good?

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2. “I’m going to a Christian college because I want to work in ministry, and that’s the best place to learn.”
2. “I’m going to a Christian college because I want to work in ministry, and that’s the best place to learn.”

This motive sounds better than the first, but it’s still important to examine your heart. Do you believe a public college is not a great place to learn how to do ministry?

If you do not believe you can effectively prepare to minister to hurting people who don’t know God by attending college among hurting people who don’t know God, examine your heart for pride. Pride will convince you that what the Christian school will teach you is obviously better than anything those pagans can offer. This expression of pride also puts an imaginary limit on how God can best work in your life.

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3. “I’m going to a Christian college because it’s just a safer place to be.”
3. “I’m going to a Christian college because it’s just a safer place to be.”

This is another one that’s statistically true. If you compare crime stats on college campuses using this tool from U.S. Dept. of Education (ope.ed.gov), usually you’ll find fewer reported crimes on private Christian college campuses than on public ones. But if this is a top reason you’re choosing to attend a Christian college, ask yourself if this decision is rooted in fear rather than in trusting God.

Paul testifies to God’s goodness and power, even when he is in prison (again) and facing death soon. His surroundings are what most would call unsafe. But he knew this:

“The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (2 Timothy 4:18)

Safety on your perspective college campus matters. And any lack of it on any college campus is a concerning problem. But Christians have access to peace that passes all understanding. We do not need to be afraid like the world is. Are we ever guaranteed safety, even in seemingly safe situations? Are you overly concerned with physical safety that you’re willing to say “no” to God if he calls you into an unsafe situation like Paul?

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4. “I’m going to a Christian college because faith-based schooling is all I know.”
4. “I’m going to a Christian college because faith-based schooling is all I know.”

For some, choosing a college was only ever about which Christian college to attend. Maybe you spent your whole educational career in Christian school or homeschool, and the thought never crossed your mind to switch gears all the sudden and attend a secular college.

If this reason resonates with you, it might be a good time to as the Holy Spirit to convict you of any underlying fear or pride. Would you remove all parameters and ask God, with open hands, about where (or if) he wants you to pursue a college education? Would you decide to obediently follow God, even if he leads you to somewhere you’ve never been?

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5. “I’m going to a Christian college because it’s what my parents expect (or it’s the only school they’ll help pay for).”
5. “I’m going to a Christian college because it’s what my parents expect (or it’s the only school they’ll help pay for).”

Maybe the idea of looking to God in the midst of a big decision is a completely new idea because for years, you’ve just looked to your parents, older sibling, or best friend. Is it possible that God could be calling you somewhere different than what your friends or family expected?

Maybe attending a secular school means you’re on your own financially. When the financial consequences are steep, you have to pray hard and be open to making a costly decision. Seek God’s face and ask for strength to follow whatever it is he calls you to do: either to thrive in a school you didn’t choose or to trust him to provide as you head towards a different school. Rely on God’s wisdom and strength “for the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength” (1 Corinthians 1:25).

Wherever God leads you to go, there will be hard times and possibly suffering. That’s just life. But “praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

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Source: Crosswalk