And one question that many of us who work closely with student want to know is:
Are they ready to go?
And what we mean by this is…
Are they ready to go forth from our ministry and care for themselves spiritually over the summer months that we’re apart.
And it’s not that we have an over-inflated sense of what we (or our ministries) have to offer students (at least I hope that’s true)…
But if you’ve been serving students for very long at all, then you know that the summer months can be a challenging season for many of our students.
Spiritually speaking, many will struggle to re-engage back in the community of faith they were apart of before they left for college… (which assumes, of course, that they had one to leave in the first place).
Because they’re different from who they were just 9 months ago.
And that’s OK.
In fact, that’s hopefully a good thing.
A very good thing.
A sign of growth and maturity… in process.
But they might not realize this. And to go home, unaware, could be damaging… even devastating!
So whether they’re new believers in search of church home (back home), or growing believers in search of a new church home (back home), or simply steady believers who have been away from their “old” community of faith for much of the past year… Our students need to be aware that going home can present some challenges in this regard.
But their spiritual struggles may come in a different form… one that has to do with them “feeding” themselves.
This begs several questions of us:
Have we prepared them and equipped them to “feed” themselves? Or have we made them overly dependent upon us (or what our ministry has to offer)?
Have we given them room to grow — on their own? Or have we been overly prescriptive with their spiritual life on campus?
Have we allowed them the space to question, doubt, struggle and search… in ways that have helped them to more fully “own” their faith? Or have we spent the year “spoon-feeding” them and now worry who will take over this role in our absence?
Sure, there will be ways we can (intentionally) stay connected with students over the summer…
But we shouldn’t have to in order for our students to continue to grow and mature in their faith.
Our job isn’t simply to “feed” them, but really and truly, to learn to “feed” themselves — and ultimately, others!
So, as the year moves towards its inevitable end, one question still remains:
Are they ready to go?