College can be a dangerous place for a Christian’s faith!
To begin with, 2 out of every 3 teenagers involved with a youth group already plan to leave the church once theyre on their own (i.e., in college). One out of every 8 bails on the church before they even set foot on the college campus (Leonard Sweet, SoulTsunami page 47).
Even leaving that disturbing fact aside, college isn’t too kind to the faith of students.
Quotes from Pascarella and Terenzini: How College Affects
Students: Findings and Insights From Twenty Years of Research
“the literature published since 1967 fairly consistently reports significant declines in religious attitudes, values, and behaviors during the college years.” p 280-281
“The likelihood of changing to no religious
preference was also highest at so-called elite institutions.” p 303
“In probably the strongest studies on this point, Astin (1972b, 1977a) found (net of other personal and background factors) significantly greater than expected decreases in conventional religious affiliation and in religiousness (that is, praying and reading the Bible) among students attending selective or prestigious schools.”
But there is hope: in the same volume, the authors state:
“Only a handful of studies examine
the long-term effects of college on religious attitudes and values,
but with one exception, they indicate that changes in this area occur
during but apparently not after the college years.” p 323
In other words, college is our last chance to reach a generation! That’s why there must be campus ministry at secular colleges and universities!