Being His Hands: College Edition
The dorm supplies have been purchased. The bags and boxes all crammed into the vehicle. The congregation said farewell. The child who used to chew on the bars of the nursery crib is now headed off to college, and the church halls are just a little bit quieter. Coupled with the anticipation of the future is the fear of what it might bring for these beloved young adults as they begin to spread their wings.
They’re away from their home. Away from the people who know and love and watch out for them.
So many college students stray from the church. But you can play an important and even vital role in anchoring them in their faith.
For this article, we heard from Sonja Vernon, a veteran dorm mom who shares ideas how the church back home can support and help students as they go to college.
~ Let them know you’ll be praying for them…and mean it. Send them a little note of encouragement and remind them that you are praying. I still remember notes from older saints in my church while I was away at school.
~ Pray for them regularly and periodically throughout the year.
~ Make your prayers specific.
- That God would guard their friendships.
- That God would show them how the little choices they are making now affect the ability for them to fulfill His plans for them later.
- That God would protect them from relationships that would jeopardize their future marriage.
- That God would ground them spiritually and teach them to think logically and wisely when confronted with errant philosophies.
- That God would teach them to cultivate a daily, moment-by-moment relationship with Him NOW.
- That God would help them to take their studies seriously and develop healthy habits.
~ Laundry money. Every college student needs quarters. A roll of quarters every now and then is a great gift.
~ A gift card to Amazon.com or another online bookseller like Half Price Books. Many college students buy their books online. Amazon and other sites like it are places with one-stop shopping for college students.
~ Remember their birthdays. College students far away (and nearby) love to be remembered on their special days.
~ Snacks—they are part of the college experience. A care package with homemade cookies can make them one of the most popular people in the dorm.
~ If you know what kind of device your college student uses, a gift card to iTunes or the GooglePlay store can allow them to download apps that might be helpful to them in a new city, or educational apps…or games, of course, because they will play them.
~ Send a just-because card with a couple dollars in it that says, “I thought about you today.” There are always little random expenses that crop up.
~ If they are coffee drinkers (as most college students are), a cool travel mug and a nice bag of coffee from a local coffee shop will give them a taste of home and the ability to pull that all-nighter.
~ Chocolate is almost always a good idea.
Finally, let them know you believe in them. When they come home, ask questions about their college experience. Show genuine interest.