22 Jan Don’t Waste Your Dorm
Recently, a lot of students have been asking whether they should live on or off campus – we think it’s awesome that students are asking that question, and want to give them a few things to think about. Right away, I want to make two things clear:
First, we believe that, for most people, the most strategic decision for the sake of the gospel is to live on campus.
However, we are not God. If you decide to move off campus, we’re okay with that. We just ask that you engage with God about the decision.
In light of those primary points, here are a few reasons why we encourage students to live on campus:
1. It helps you form relationships with non-believers.
The main reason to live on campus is to be around people who don’t believe the gospel. On a college campus, you are automatically in close proximity to nonbelievers, and living on campus allows you to create friendships with them more easily and naturally than if you lived off campus. If you frequent the dining hall, the gym, the student center, and especially if you live in the dorms, you are going to have countless opportunities to build relationships with non-believers – opportunities that you wouldn’t have as easily, if at all, if you moved off campus.
Also, it’s much easier to do ministry living among the people you are ministering to. If you were trying to reach a certain group of people in Raleigh, it would make sense for you to move to Raleigh to be around them. In the same way, living on campus opens up the opportunity place yourself within a large network of nonbelievers and live alongside them. Remember that Jesus modeled this for us by taking on flesh and dwelling among us, for our sake.
2. Followers of Christ must learn to make decisions based on gospel need, not personal preference.
We want to teach our students to join in the Mission of God. We want you to live missionally while you are on campus, but we also want you to learn to live missionally the rest of your life. We want to build you up as a lifetime laborer for Christ. Living on campus can be a small step of obedience that teaches you to make decisions based on the gospel need rather than personal preference. We believe that committing to live on campus because there are more opportunities to create relationships with nonbelievers is a step of obedience that will benefit not only your present ministry, but also your future as a Christian.
Start making gospel-centered decisions now in order to prepare yourself for a lifetime of following Jesus, no matter where he calls. After graduation, we’ll ask many of you to consider moving overseas or to another city for the sake of the gospel. If you decide to move on campus now, you are more likely to decide to move to Serbia or New York for the gospel later in life.
3. Don’t Waste Your College
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:16-17
You only have one shot at college. Don’t waste it. More than likely, you’ll live in an apartment or house for the rest of your life. You won’t have another chance to live in college dorms – in close proximity to non-believers who are so open to creating friendships. This is a very strategic season for you to share your faith with others; so make the best use of this time!
We understand that you may still have a lot of questions. Where on campus? What if all of my friends are moving off? Who should I live with on campus? What if it’s financially easier to move off campus? While we can’t answer each of those concerns here, we wanted to share why we consider living on campus to be such a strategic decision, and why we encourage all of our students to do so. And, of course, we would be more than happy to answer any other questions you might have – so don’t hesitate to ask!
So, engage with God over this decision. Talk to friends and mentors. Consider the calling of Christ. Remember that he promises to be worth far more than any sacrifice you could make for the sake of his mission. Remember the sacrifice that he made for you. Then, make a decision and go with it. On campus or off, we love all of you and appreciate your faithfulness and commitment to Christ and making disciples on your campus. Wherever you live, live for him!
Wes Smith is the Summit College Pastor of Discipleship and Campus Director for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
[Photo Credit: East Chapel Hill Observer http://echobserver.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/green-focused-unc-dormitory-wins-national-recognition-for-environmental-initiatives ]