The Questions…

1 Aug

A lot has changed about college life since many of us were college students. Students are studying for careers that didn’t exist a few years ago, using technology that didn’t exist a few years ago, and incurring debt at levels that didn’t exist a few years ago. They even have a new name, “emerging adults” , to reflect their new reality.

 

But one thing hasn’t changed- the questions. College students today ask the same questions everyone their age always has asked.

 

Why am I here?

What am I supposed to be doing with my life?

Does my life matter?

What does matter?

 

Many people and institutions will offer young adults answers to those questions. But the church has a particular and unique set of responses to these questions. Our response as the church can offer vision and hope to emerging adults.  Our challenge is to find ways to encourage and support students as they ask these old questions in new situations.

 

Every campus ministry is unique. Our work is shaped by the particular university environment we find ourselves in.  Never the less the questions remain.

 

Why am I here?

What am I supposed to be doing with my life?

Does my life matter?

What does matter?

 

It is slow, thoughtful work helping students think about their particular life and their particular situation.  What is my calling as a Christian? How does my faith affect my college life and my future career? Does it? Can my work in computer applications make a difference? Does my Christian faith have anything to do with accounting? Does studying Culinary Arts matter?

 

These “big” questions are the questions of purpose and meaning we wrestle with repeatedly in life. Campus ministry and the church can offer college students a way to faithfully engage these questions over the course of their lives.

 

How do we do this in campus ministry? Are we intentional about it? Are we willing to wrestle with the difficult questions along with our students?

 

What does it mean for a Christian engineer to “love their enemy”?  Can a graphic designer “bless those who persecute you” in a culture that values success above all?  Can one single Christian business person affect the way a large business conducts itself?

 

 

Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing with my life?

Will I make a difference?

Does my life matter?

What does matter?

 

How do we help students answer those questions? Are we helping every student develop the insight, the spiritual practices and the desire to follow Christ anywhere and everywhere life takes them?  Are we helping students think about how they follow Jesus into life – into the classroom, the job site, their neighborhood, their family home.

 

Why am I here?

Does my life matter?

What do you tell students?

 

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I’m asking these questions to encourage discussion about should we be doing this? And I’m asking the practical question of how you do this? What has been successful? What has not?

So, what do you think?

 

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Nancy JanischNancy Janisch is the ministry coordinator for True North Campus Ministry, a campus ministry of the Presbytery of Lake Michigan, PC (USA) for students in downtown Grand Rapids Michigan. After 20 years as a practicing veterinarian, in small animal and emergency medical practice, Nancy returned to seminary and received a Master of Divinity Degree. She is a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Grand Rapids. Nancy has a particular interested in the areas of vocation, spiritual formation, and science and religion.

 

True North is focused on helping college students in Grand Rapids integrate their Christian faith with their daily lives, academic work and future careers.

True North works collaboratively with student organizations, campus ministries, and local congregations to provide resources, speakers, small group experiences, programs that encourage thoughtful conversation and reflection about the ways faith shapes our engagement of the world around us.

We are a campus ministry of the Presbyterian Church (USA) for all students, regardless of their religious affiliation ( or lack of affiliation) who are interested in exploring their faith and the world. We are dedicated to being respectful of the variety of religious beliefs that students hold and encourage respectful conversation as we explore issues together.

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