by Pastor Ben Holden
When I was a senior in high school, I selected the college I was going to attend before I ever set foot on the campus. When it was time for my one day orientation, my dad drove me the 2.5 hours to attend. We looked around the campus together and became familiar with what I needed to know. Before we left to return home that afternoon there was one more stop that my dad wanted us to make.
My high school counselor was also a member of the church I attended growing up. He had also lived near where I would be attending college, so he was able to suggest a good church for me to attend and get involved with. Before my dad and I made the drive home, my dad figured out where this church was (we didn’t have GPS back then!) and we drove to it. He helped me figure out how to get there, what times the services were, and where the main entrance was. We even went inside and looked around. My dad was strategically helping me to find a good Bible teaching church that I could get involved with and call my new church home while I was at college.
Every year I challenge our graduating seniors at our Grad Banquet as they step into this next chapter of their life, on the importance of finding a good church to attend and engage in. The church has been a needed and helpful community for them, and the church will still be a needed community.
There is no substitute for the local church. It is a family of faith that will help to point you to Jesus, challenge you in your spiritual growth, and provide opportunities and resources to be on mission for the gospel. If you are sending your student off to another city, let me highly encourage you to do what my dad did for me. Helping them find a solid church to engage in could be the difference in them walking with Jesus or choosing a different path. The stakes are too high to not be strategic and simply hope for the best.