As a BJU student, your relationship with your home church is very special. You most likely have strong ties to your pastor, youth pastor, Sunday school teachers, church musicians, and other church members. In addition to maintaining these strong ties, you’ll also be expected to attend all Sunday morning activities of a local fundamental church (Sunday school and the Sunday morning service) plus an additional service during the week—Sunday evening service, Wednesday evening service or a church shepherding group.
Here are important things to consider when making your church selection.
Determine that you are going to be in church on a regular basis. Attending BJU will provide many ways for you to grow spiritually through chapels, Bible classes, Christian service outreaches, musical programs, student organizations, and prayer groups; but BJU is not a church, nor is it a substitute for the church.
College life with its academic and work demands can squeeze your schedule more than you realize, so determine now that you are going to be in church to the fullest degree possible. Plan your schedule accordingly — especially the weekend schedule — and let nothing keep you from being where God would have you to be. For example, plan to get Monday’s homework done early in the weekend so that there is no temptation to stay away from church services to study. Let the Lord’s Day, Sunday, be a day of worship and rest, focusing upon the Lord and His Word, both in the morning and evening services.
Pray that God will lead you to the right church. Discuss your church options with your parents before leaving home for college, and even consider doing some online research. There is a list of Greenville area churches that can help you narrow down the many choices. A list of churches providing transportation will also be posted on the BJU intranet.
After you’ve visited several churches, call your parents and pastor and get their counsel. BJU personnel also can help advise parents, pastors, and students toward a church compatible with your home church. When your parents come to visit, take them to church with you and introduce them to the pastor and the church members.
Find an avenue of service within a local church. Some churches will already have avenues of service ready for college students, including visitation, children’s ministries, bus ministries, music ministries and other ministries to serve alongside church members. However, expect the pastor and church leaders to want to get to know you before you to start to serve.
While many students retain their membership in their home churches, some churches in the Greenville area allow students to join their churches as “associate members,” enabling students to have membership and opening the door for participation in ministries, as well as identify with the church body.
There are many churches in the Greenville area, but often other churches within reasonable driving distance of BJU (including churches in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee) also eagerly welcome the regular participation of students in their weekly services and outreach. A list of these churches will be posted on the Outreach Ministries Intranet website.
Don’t get discouraged if the process of getting fully involved takes time; these churches have incorporated many generations of BJU students.
Once you find the church that God has called you to, resist the lure to rove around visiting churches. Be faithful in your new church. Take your friends with you, and hold each other accountable for regular church attendance. Show up for the mid-week service, Saturday workdays, and other special events.
As time goes by, you will make a solid identification with the church, and your new church family will take notice. They will appreciate your youthful vibrancy, joy, kindness, and faithfulness. Reach out to older members of the church family. Get to know parents and their children, and encourage those children and the teens in the church. You will build good relationships in the church that will be very meaningful down the road.
Your time at BJU is an important period of your life. It’s the time when you, as a young adult, establish solid patterns of spiritual development and discipline. Essential to such spiritual growth is regular and eager participation in a local church. May it be your goal to graduate from BJU with a very strong commitment to Christ and His Church.