By Jesse Pingenot in Student
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Heb 10:24-25)
Graduation is here. Some of you are now no longer Chi Alpha student leaders because you’re no longer students. The time is here for you to move on to the next phase of your life.
This can be a very hard transition for Chi Alpha students to make. Unless you’re going to stay somewhere you already have a church home, you’re going to have to go out and find a new one.
Over the past many years, I’ve seen student after student struggle with this. Because what you want is a church that’s like Chi Alpha. But such churches are extremely rare.
This isn’t meant as a bash against any churches. The simple fact is we’ve tailor-made Chi Alpha for people like you. Chi Alpha is specifically focused on reaching college students. Most churches cannot and should not do so. Churches are supposed to be multi-generational, reaching people ages 0-150. Chi Alpha’s target is people ages 17-23.
The only churches that will be like Chi Alpha are those that are specifically focused on young adults. But young adults usually can’t support a church all on their own, so young adult churches tend to be part of a larger, multi-generational church.
At any rate, young adult churches are very rare, and not all of them are going to be like Chi Alpha has been for you. So what can you do?
Many people graduate and, failing to find a church that is what they’re looking for, just stop going to church.
But that is something that no Christian can or should ever do. Christianity is a personal relationship with God, absolutely. But it is also meant to be expressed in community. The Bible is very clear about this: every Christian needs to be part of a Christian ministry, part of a church. Because only by being part of a church can we truly be part of the Church.
Christianity was never meant to be done alone. Your relationship with God was never intended to only ever be you and God. Some Christians try to be the Lone Ranger, just me and Jesus. But these Christians have cut themselves off from an essential part of Christianity: the Church, the very Body of Christ.
There are no Lone Ranger Christians.
So what must you do? You can’t abandon the Church, but at the same time, you can’t find a church where you feel like you fit in so easily.
I have spent all my life not fitting in. What that has taught me is that you can’t wait for people to make a niche, a place for you. You have to make one yourself.
You need to find a church you believe in, one you are willing to invest yourself in. And then you invest yourself in it just as you invested yourself in Chi Alpha.
You’re a Chi Alpha leader. You are a community builder. You are someone who makes ministry happen. You don’t wait for it to happen; you do it.
The odds are very low that there will be a ready-made niche for you, a place for you to grow and thrive in a local church, tailor-made for you. You have to make it yourself.
Ask yourself, what does the church need from you? How can you help? And then get involved.
But on a very basic level, more than getting involved in whatever programs might be going on in that church, you build community.
Did people invite you to dinner after service? If not, did you invite them? Take the initiative! Invite people to hang out with you. Don’t wait for them to get to know you; get to know them!
Find a church you are willing to invest your time and money in and start building it up. Start making disciples. Find people who will disciple you. Serve the church and help it grow, just as you did with us.
When we trained you, we didn’t just do it for ourselves. We did it for the Kingdom of God—here and throughout your life. We want you to have a lifelong commitment to Christ and a lifelong impact on the world for the Kingdom of God. This is what we’ve been preparing you for these past four years.
We believe in you. We love and trust you. Now go out there and make disciples!
All views expressed on this blog are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, U.S.A., U.S. Missions, and The General Council of the Assemblies of God.