The day has arrived!
Your student is looking toward four years of new experiences and challenges; a path he or she will walk largely on his or her own.
This can be a fearful time for parents and students. Your son or daughter looks to you for direction and you grapple with condensing a lifetime of experience into a few well-chosen words of advice. Where to begin?
Turning to God’s Word will give wisdom on your search. For our purposes, let us look to Joshua as he entered the Promised Land.
Now, don’t misunderstand; we are not equating a college campus with the land “flowing with milk and honey.” However, as Joshua followed the Lord’s guidance and led the Israelites into this new day, certain aspects of preparation came front and center.
1. Faith First
As Joshua and the Israelites started off toward the Promised Land, the Ark of the Covenant went before them. They followed the promise of God toward their destiny. They did not follow a person or an ideal, they were not led by their own opinions or aspirations; they followed the tangible symbol of the truth and power of God.
Your college student is embarking on an entirely new life in a “new land.” As he or she steps forward, faith must lead the way.
It’s imperative that a Christian student keep priorities firmly in mind (and heart) as so many new experiences exert influence critical decisions. They must be led by the truth of God, entering this new world faith first.
2. Be Involved and Engaged
The journey to the Promised Land was a united journey for a community of believers in which the gifting and strengths of each person were needed.
Just so, our students are striking out on their own journeys toward the future. These are not journeys in which they can succeed alone. They need to be actively involved and legitimately engaged in an authentic Christian community. The gifting and strengths of your student and others will be needed as they all face new challenges and experiences.
Encourage your student to find mentors, two or three at least. No one Israelite could have accomplished the journey to the Promised Land alone. And your student will meet with untold difficulty if he or she tries to chart a solo course.
3. Invest and Serve
Once the Israelites entered the Promised Land, the sheer scope of work to be done must have seemed daunting; it’s not hard to imagine insecurity and fear threatened to take hold.
To truly possess the land, each Israelite had to add their own special skills and abilities to achieve the tasks at hand. Rather than being overwhelmed by the scope of work, the entire community was encouraged and supported by uniting their giftings and subduing the land. Investing in the community and serving one another resulted in individual success and corporate stability.
When students enter college, it may happen that insecurity turns their eyes inward. They may become all too aware of their own perceived lacks or shortcomings; a recipe for faith failure. Discouragement coupled with fear is a sure course toward disaster.
The best way to avoid excessive self-preoccupation is to look outward, rather than inward. Investing in the community around and serving as our Lord served will create an atmosphere where stability and success will thrive.
4. Practice Godly Stewardship
As the Israelites prepared to enter the Promised Land, God’s provision of manna ceased. After long years of continual supernatural supply, God’s people were expected to provide for themselves. No longer could they take provision for granted. They would have to practice good stewardship if life in the new land was to truly become a “land of milk and honey.”
Up until this point, your student has enjoyed your provision. Little thought was required as to the source of supply. Now life will change. It will be your student who chooses how to care for what has been entrusted to him or her; time, resources, giftings, relationships—all will be in the care of your student. Stewardship will take on a whole new meaning as your student realizes choices bear consequences in much more profound ways than in the pre-college days. Good stewardship is a must.
5. Speak Truth
Although the story of Joshua and the Jericho wall is not about speaking truth, there is much we can learn about timing and obedience—both are important when considering when to speak and what to say.
Especially in the world of academia, worldly opinions and secular worldviews can rise like a fortress before us—a veritable Jericho of humanistic and relativistic thought. Christians can be completely incapacitated with fear of having their faith-based lives attacked. And non-Christians’ intolerance grows exponentially by being fed a diet of anti-Christian teaching.
By listening closely to the Lord’s leading and following His plan exactly, Jericho fell before the Israelites. They shouted when told and watched as the walls crumbled to dust.
Your Christian student must be prepared to walk confidently up to the fortress walls and stand ready to “shout”—to speak truth fearlessly at the moment the Lord leads. He or she may be the only voice of truth willing to be heard.
Whatever the outcome, your student must be prepared to speak truth wherever and whenever the Lord requests.
Share these five points with your college-bound son or daughter. Not only will these values enable them to walk confidently into a new land; a life that portrays faith, genuine engagement, a willingness to serve others, good stewardship, and faithfulness to the truth will speak volumes to the college community. “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17; NIV). But faith lived and spoken in the presence of others is a faith that changes lives.
At Impact 360 Institute, we want to foster that life-changing faith; the content shared above is just an example of the kinds of things we teach to help equip parents and students. We would love to help you further as you prepare your student for the transition ahead. Whether your student is a freshman or a senior, it’s never too early in the high school days to begin preparing for a college career. Our College Launch Conference is designed to lead you and your student to a smooth transition, regardless when the process begins. Please consider joining our experienced team, led by Dr. Jonathan Morrow and Dr. John Basie, as we assist parents of teens in building plans to confidently transition to college. For information about the College Launch Conference, please visit our website here.