The decision about where to send your child to college is about one of the most important decisions you can make. After spending 18 years investing yourself into the life of another human being, it is time to let them go off and start to put into practice many of the things you have taught them! As a pastor’s wife, I encourage all of our parent’s to send their children to Bible college for at least one year. If Mormons (who do not have the truth), are willing to go off and devote two years of their life to promote a false religion, how much more should we be willing to encourage our teens to give one year of their life to go to Bible college! At the very least, they can get a solid foundation in the things of God before studying a secular career!
When choosing a Christian College there are some standards that I believe should be considered. It is a known fact that the norm is for our teens and church members to have lower standards than the leadership. If the leadership has extremely high dress standards, music standards, entertainment standards, then the best we can hope for is that our teens have standards close to those of the leadership. Of course there are rare cases where a teen can set even higher standards but this is not the norm!
More important than standards however, is the absolute love for the things of God and the moving of the power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the leadership at the church and college. Without that, standards won’t matter. The lives and character of the leadership is what is going to truly influence our teens and their lives forever!
Here are some of my guiding principles that I am using to determine which college might be an option for my kids as they approach adulthood!
1. Spiritual, Loving, Balanced Leadership! The number one thing I am looking for is the spirit of the leadership. At the end of the day, it is not going to matter what they learned in math class. It is not going to matter if they got a B or a C+ in Science class. It is not going to matter if they played volleyball or soccer. What is going to matter is if they learn the life principles that they will need to find God’s will and do it. If they will be influenced to choose to wait for marriage to have their first kiss. If they will be taught how to have a happy marriage. How to raise kids for God! These are the things that truly matter. How to have a true balance in their Christian life so that they put family first, church second, and work third! These things are “caught more than taught”. These are the things they will learn from the leadership. The only way I know how to determine if a church college has this is by doing a personal visit. As a parent you need to go out and visit the prospective colleges. If you can go on off days when there is not a conference or special event even better! You can find out what the church is really like when they are not trying to impress anyone! If you can meet the pastor and get to know him or his staff, that would be even better!
2. Standards of Separation. The next thing on my list that I am looking for are standards of separation. What do the girls wear during sports? Culottes or long shorts? What is the skirt length of the staff and students? Right below the knees or mid-calf? What are their music standards? Does anything go or do they restrict “country” gospel music. What are their rules for dating? Do they require an adult chaperone or allow the students to go out in groups together? The last thing I want to have happen is my child to come home on Christmas or Summer break wearing a barely knee length skirt and insisting they can go out in mixed groups because it is okay to do it at the Bible college! The church Bible college should re-enforce my principles, not make me look like the enemy!
3. The Right Doctrine. The absolute next thing is the right doctrine. This is not as easy as it may seem. It may seem “obvious” that if we are going to send our kids to an Independent Baptist Christian College that all colleges will believe the same. Unfortunately this is not the case! Some colleges teach that the church only consists of local believers that are called out and assembled together, and others teach that the church is an invisible universal entity that we all become members of upon salvation. Some colleges teach that the King James Bible should be translated into other languages as the KJB is the inspired Word of God and others teach that the Textus Receptus is the scriptures that should be used to translate into other languages as a translation from a translation just does not make sense! Study these points of difference and decide if for you it is a preference in doctrine you can live with or if it is means to not send your child to that college!
4. Philosophy of Ministry and Service. Does the college run the church ministries or does the church allow students to serve in the church ministries? There is a difference. In the college I attended, students were not normally ever allowed to be the leaders of any ministries. The students were there to be taught how to serve in the ministry. In churches that allow students to run their ministries, you will find that over the summer months and Christmas breaks, the church pretty much also goes on break! Without the students no one is left to run the ministries. I don’t find this an ideal situation! I want my teen to go to a church and serve in ministries and learn from Godly church members! Also to be aware of is the philosophy on soul-winning. Are numbers and results the priority? Or is sowing the seed and walking with God the emphasis? Are families destroyed because there is too much emphasis on “the ministry”? Does the ministry and church activities have more importance than leaving a future generation of Godly men and women? Things to think about!
5. Academics and Activities. Last but not least, academics. What courses are offered? What degrees are available? Will the credits be transferable to another Christian College? What activities will they be able to be involved in throughout the year? Does the church host an annual conference that the college students are able to serve in? Is the college primarily a Bible college that is training students for full-time Christian service or do they offer a wide variety of educational opportunities so that the students can get get a secular degree while attending a Christian college? My absolute first preference would be to send them to a Bible college where all of the students were focused on going into full-time Christian service but that is not a “deal breaker” for me. As a preacher once said, “Let the world produce more doctors, lawyers, and businessmen! I want to produce more pastors, missionaries, pastor’s wives and missionary wives!”
What about you? What criteria do you use to determine what college to send your child to? If you went to Bible College are you going to automatically send your child to your Alma Mater? What colleges are on your short list? Please leave a comment below!