If I asked the college students in your church what’s most likely in your refrigerator right now, would they know? Would they have any idea what’s in your fridge? Often I hear people say, “when I get the house cleaned up, I’ll invite the students over.” Or, “I want to have people over, but my place is a mess right now. As soon as we get things cleared away, we’ll have a group over.”
I must admit, I am a bit guilty of this myself. The best cleaning my house gets is right before we host guests. I’m cleaning and putting clutter away, doing laundry and stuffing things into drawers. But there is something about this way of thinking that is fundamentally flawed when it comes to discipleship.
First, I shouldn’t have to clean up my stuff to have you over. My stuff should already be cleaned up. Now don’t get me wrong. Nobody is perfect. However, why do we wait for some appointed time in the future to clean things up? And I’m not just talking about our homes here.
In 1 Thessalonians 2:8 Paul writes, “Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” It seems that truly loving the people of Thessalonica led Paul to share more than a message with those to whom he ministered. Are you willing and able to share your life with your students?
It’s not just the lessons in the classroom on Sunday morning that your students are learning. It is the lessons that you teach by the way you live each and every day. Sometimes I wish it wasn’t true, but it is. And college students are experts at detecting fakes. You ask your students to share their faith, but do you share yours? You tell them to build intentional relationships, but are you building those types of relationships? Reading your Bible? Memorizing scripture? Are you living a life before them that puts Christ first in your priorities?
Before you resign as college leader, here’s the catch. You don’t have to be perfect. You aren’t. So don’t try to act like it on Sunday. Ask yourself the hard questions. Earnestly, make every effort to live the life God is calling you to live. Then be transparent with your students about the places in your life where you struggle. They don’t expect you to be perfect, just genuine.
Let your students know that you are on a journey together to pursue Christlikeness. Share your life with them. Even the things that aren’t neat and tidy, like your fridge. So, what is in there anyway?
Ginger Bowman is Collegiate ChurchLife Specialist, and College Sunday School teacher. Her refrigerator currently holds a half dozen eggs, expired milk and some assorted leftovers.