Everyday people make decisions. Some decisions are more consequential than others. When it comes to the big decisions in life, the time between age 16 and the early 20s has a huge impact on the trajectory of a person’s life.
As a person emerges from adolescence to early adulthood, many decisions are made about the people you choose to spend time with. Who has your best interest at heart to help you fulfill your purpose in life? Reality check: from a Christ-follower’s perspective, the life you call yours is for the Lord’s purposes and not your own. Consequently, you must not allow the culture, friends, social media BFFs, or anything else to dictate the purpose God has called you to fulfill.
For Christ-following parents who care deeply for their young adult children, what educational experience do you encourage them to pursue? Do you base your counsel on personal experience, economic capacity, or excellent programs offered by the institutions?
On the whole, young adults today are smart and want to live for a cause. They need someone to help them think through the consequences of their choices. As a Christian parent who has invested so much in the success of your child, will you turn your child over to the philosophical wolves of secular institutions and later regret that you recommended a culture of secular indoctrination instead of a faith-based educational environment? In reality, how much does that consequential decision cost you and your family for the next 10, 20, or even 30 years?
Granted, there are state institutions with some super faculty. Not everyone who teaches or attends a state school is a pagan. The world of state higher education has changed. Every day, government regulations and activism from the courts are marginalizing people of faith, and that is most clearly evidenced at the university level. Too many Christian parents who choose the secular option end up asking themselves, “What happened to the faith, the cause, and the joyful brilliance of my child?” Part of it was the confusion, myths, and choices made in the context of a state institution.
The best recommendation is to consider encouraging Missouri Baptist students to attend one of our great Baptist institutions: Hannibal-Lagrange University, Missouri Baptist University, or Southwest Baptist University. Each of them is committed to integrating faith and learning. They also work hard at setting your young adult up for success. Check these stories:
SBU. It’s one thing for faculty and administration of a university to encourage a spiritual initiative, but what if the students create a culture of worship, prayer, and spiritual/personal accountability. That’s what’s happened at SBU in a student-initiated, student-led ministry called “The Table.” It is part of the weekly “rhythm” of SBU students. Students meet every Tuesday evening. Then, on Thursday nights, students attend “Locamente,” a full hour of worship and prayer led by our students. Locamente is a long-standing cultural tradition for many students who have attended SBU.
MBU. President Keith Ross told me about “Keynote,” a class that emphasizes the value of a Christian liberal arts education as a foundation for a broad range of vocations. This class, taught by Amy Harrison, helps students know how to think critically, communicate effectively, and integrate faith into their personal and professional lives.
Harrison wrote the following email to Ross earlier this semester, espousing her enthusiasm for how the MBU experience is impacting students’ lives:
“I’ve just finished reading through 200 student reflection papers, and I was so encouraged and surprised. So many students commented on a strengthened relationship with the Lord because of MBU, others talked about rededicating their life to Christ this semester, and some became believers for the first time! I couldn’t believe what I was reading. . . Surely, I know all of this wasn’t the result of The Keynote, but it was all of it together…from resident life, to faculty, to the camaraderie on the athletic teams. Students said all of this. I thought you may want to know that in their own words, MBU is advancing the Kingdom, and I am very appreciative to be even a small part of it.”
Transformational student experiences are part of MBU’s mission of preparing students to be redemptive voices in the communities in where they will serve personally and professionally.
HLGU. The university offers an agribusiness degree. The program is for students who want to be engaged in agricultural-allied industries, or directly engaged in production of agriculture once they graduate. The program is a hands-on program. Recently, the Beard Implement Company, dealers with Case IH, New Holland, and Kubota brands, awarded scholarships to three full-time agribusiness students who demonstrate Christian character in and out of the classroom. The program also features internships and hands-on experience.
There are some financial challenges at HLGU, but as you read on page 1 of this issue in The Pathway, there is great confidence that the institution will be open in the fall. Meanwhile, student enrollment is up for the summer. They still need to raise $1 million in the next 90 days.
Measure carefully the costs. You will find the difference in cost between a Christian education and a state education may not be so different. However, a Christian education has the greatest potential to help you, the young adult in your family, or the young adult in your world succeed in preparing to fulfill God’s purposes.