The importance of Christian community while at a university that isn’t religiously affiliated is inexplicably crucial. However, getting involved on campus, while important, is not the only way to stay grounded in your faith.
First of all, let me reiterate that it is awesome to get involved with an on-campus Christian ministry. These organizations are great resources for you, especially when you’re in your first year. You usually don’t know about various Christian campus ministries you may have to choose from or which church is going to be a good fit for you. In my experience with Campus Crusade for Christ at UNC, this large group was an amazing way to meet tons of new friends who shared my beliefs, and it was a good mid-week worship session for me during the stressful times of papers and midterms and everything else in between.
Despite all of the good that these larger organizations can provide, it’s still important to take the next step and join a small group.
Small groups through a church or an on-campus Christian organization are a great way to deepen and strengthen your beliefs. These small groups can be Bible studies or prayer groups or just you and a few friends getting together regularly to talk about how your weeks have been and whatnot. Fellowship is one of the most vital ways to stay connected in Christ, and small groups provide such a focused attention on a smaller number of people than in a 300-person lecture hall during a campus ministry weekly meeting.
Proverbs 27:12 says that if iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another--being part of a small group allows this exact thing to happen. Accountability and community lend themselves to making us more aware of what God is doing in our daily lives.
Last year a good friend and I would get together on Monday nights to talk about our lives, eat Oreos, and pray. It was informal and wasn’t sponsored by an on-campus organization or the church we attended; it was just two friends who wanted God at the center of their lives and who wanted to pray for one another.
The importance of involving yourself in a small group setting will absolutely work wonders for your faith and sense of community while on campus. It can be as formal as signing up for a specific small group or Bible study through your church, or it can be as easy as making regular coffee dates with someone to pray and talk about how God is working your lives. Regardless of the kind of small group you choose to get involved in, you will quickly learn how comforting it is to have a small group’s love, support, and prayers while you walk with Christ on your non-Christian campus.