Survival Isn’t the Goal

When I talk to parents about helping their child select a college, one question comes up in conversation more than any other: “Is my child ready to survive as a Christian in college?” While I understand the sentiment, I submit that this is the wrong question. Survival is a decent fallback position, but it is a substandard goal. A father doesn’t hold his newborn in his arms and say, “God, I hope she survives college.”

What if we started our college search with better questions? Where will my child learn to approach the mission field with confidence? Where is the best place for my child to become established in the Word of God for wherever God takes them in life? Where will my child learn how the forgiveness of sins applies to every aspect of their lives? Where will my child be equipped to serve in a thriving local congregation that makes disciples of precious, eternal human souls around them?

AFLBS teaches much more of the Bible to a deeper level than any Christian college I know, but an impressive handful of other schools teach students a Christian worldview well. However, most students who choose to not attend AFLBS don’t go to those colleges, either. Some go to elite colleges where prestige takes precedence over Christian teaching, but most go to whatever public university offers the lowest-priced route to a college degree.

Cost is only one part of a value equation. Most people view education primarily as certification that enables someone to get a job to make money. That is an insufficient goal for education. Education is more transformation than certification. Students need instructors, not just information. We teach students congregational life and discipleship, and nurture them in a discipleship-learning community as they grow in spiritual maturity. As a fully-accredited two-year college, AFLBS is a great value, with a growing number of four-year colleges accepting many of our credits.

One more thought: Parents can’t really choose where their children go to college. That is part of growing up. But your children need (and usually want) your input. Maybe they need to hear from you, “I’d really like to see you begin your college career studying God’s Word at AFLBS. You’ll never regret it.” Thriving is better than surviving. So start here and go anywhere, grounded in God’s Word.

Pastor Wade Mobley [AFLC Schools President]

This article first appeared in Kinship Magazine, Spring 2019 Edition.

Kinship is a magazine of the Free Lutheran Schools. Stay up to date on the latest news, student stories, classroom highlights, and fun tidbits about life on the AFLBS and AFLTS campus.

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