Skip to main content

Thank you for including parental leave as part of the support that a pastor receives, as it encourages a healthy conversation - for both churches and pastors - about boundaries around family and normalizes conversations about parents making decisions about having time off to care for children, as well as aging parents or other relatives.

Update: Despite the extra challenges of moving during a pandemic, such as figuring out how to return rental vehicles and unload a truck while not violating Canada's self-isolation policy, our very recent move to Canada went well. The folks at the border were very gracious (once we let them know we had a solid quarantine plan, which we called ahead of time to check in with them), gave my husband a visitor visa fairly quickly, and were fairly laid back in terms of our bringing in goods (not bothering to check about the cat or checking about any food we might be bringing in). We were given the advice to sell our car ahead of time instead of importing it (because of costs of upgrades it would need) and that, we believe, made the process a bit easier, especially as we've moved to a big enough city that we hope to be able to make do with bikes, public transportation, and car-sharing. 

For our graduate student group, we tend to rotate between a study based on a book (that people can read but don't have to) or on a book of the Bible. Both of those require a bit more preparation from the person leading in terms of getting good questions prepared. I'd be happy to pass on to you some of the materials we've used if you'd find that helpful.

We've also used Tim Keller's video series "The Reason for God" (2009, Zondervan), which worked fairly well. The videos are dialogue based with Tim having a conversation about some of the common objections to Christianity, like "Isn't the Bible a myth? What about other religions? What are Christians such hypocrites? and more. 

Several others I know have found the series "for the life of the world:" to be a great resource working with college age folks and other young adults. If you're interested, I'd be happy to mail both video series (a set of DVDs) to you (or anyone else on this forum who is interested - I also have the whole Rob Bell Nooma series), as they no longer fit how we do studies and I'd be delighted if someone else would benefit from them.

Thanks for the comments. I have to admit that I'm not sure what's best in terms of attending a Christian college or a public university. I went to a Christian college (Redeemer), and it was very formative for my faith and for who I am as a person. I don't know how well I would have done at a public university, although looking at the campus ministries of my colleagues in Ontario, I think I would have received very good care and formation in the faith.

The question I'm raising here is less whether public university or Christian university is better. I think that has a lot to do with each person's situation and what people make of either experience.

My point, instead, is that I do not believe public universities can be seen as a primary cause for people losing faith. Yes, people do turn away from Christianity at public universities. But I have 2 points to reiterate in response:

1. Sometimes they are not turning away from Christianity, so much as they are turning away from a belief that "Jesus makes me a good person and makes me feel happy, peaceful, safe, etc." Such a a belief is what Christian Smith calls moral therapeutic deism and is not actually Christianity. Our culture and our churches and our ways of doing belief seem to encourage significant number of young people (and their parents from whom they learned it!) to choose this "feel good but doesn't cost much" kind of religion, instead of Christianity. Those ministering at both Christian and public universities encounter this kind of belief and are doing their best to challenge and disciple people in the context they are in.

2. As much as I would agree that more people probably turn away from Christianity (however you might define it) at a public university than at Christian universities, I am fairly certain that many more people convert to Christianity at public universities than at Christian colleges.

When we talk about public universities, we Christians (especially Christian Reformed folk who focus on the importanceof Christian education) tend to focus on negatives.  My question for us, though, is whether we focus so much on keeping "our folks" safe that we have forgotten about how the gospel can and is being shared with those who might be open to new ideas.

We want to hear from you.

Connect to The Network and add your own question, blog, resource, or job.

Add Your Post