top topics for college-age people to hear - part 1 of 5
- Late adolescents think much more abstractly than ever before and will therefore process these concepts much more deeply.
- Although their application of these concepts will tend to be inconsistent, they are more apt to apply them to areas of their lives.
- These are issues that are good to hear frequently, in any stage of life.
- College-age people universally think through or struggle with these concepts and do so in unique ways.
I believe that a lack of understanding of our sin nature is the number one thing that will cause a college-age person to shrink back in his or her faith. During late adolescence, people are beginning to see much more of themselves—the good and the bad. Dealing with the guilt of sin, in my opinion, is the number one contributor to college-age people slipping into “mediocre Christianity” and the thing that most often will hinder them from truly engaging in a life of ministry. Most college-age people, like other stages, feel as though they’re the only ones struggling with that particular sin issue. They need to know they’re normal. So, I’ve taught the following messages frequently in our ministry:
- Dealing with shame and regret (a walk through Psalm 51). Shame of sin causes us to run or hide from God, just like Adam and Eve in the garden.
- Putting sin in its place (Romans 7:14-8:1). This talk basically deals with wrongly identifying ourselves in sin, rather than in whom God has made us to be in Christ.
- I also typically will add two or three more messages to this series related to what I’ve heard or know specifically people are walking through at the time.
Relationships are sought after in completely new ways during late adolescence. If this topic is not covered at least annually, you will miss the core of college-age people. Late adolescents have a unique desire for intimacy in relationships, both for healthy same sex friendships, as well as their friendships and dating relationships with the opposite sex. This topic is necessary to teach for preparation and guiding purposes. We want to make sure they are preparing themselves for godly relationships much more than looking for the “prepared one.’ So, I’ve taught the following topics with an emphasis on becoming the right person:
- God’s design for marriage
- God-given roles (Ephesians 5:15-33)
- Dating: preparing (yourself) for marriage
- Friendships turned heartbreak (the balance of being a friend and pursuing dating)
- What makes a woman beautiful? (A walk through how God defines beauty.)
- Homosexuality—I have done two to three weeks on this topic EVERY year.
- Teach through Song of Songs. (This is a five-week series and I teach through it every 3-4 years.)
This topic is massive for college-age people. Most who have grown up in church feel like they know the Bible—that is until they get into college. When faced with their own abstract thinking abilities they begin to reevaluate all the assumptions they grew up with. In other words, they begin to question whether or not the faith they profess is actually their own. When it comes down to it they don’t even know the basics. Why do we have the 66 books we have and what makes them God inspired over all other writings? How did we even get these books? Now, again, you may think they know this stuff . . . but trust me, 99% (or more) don’t! In fact most don’t even know simple Bible study methods, and because of this don’t even read Scripture. I teach the following topics at least every two years:
- Inspiration—what we believe about the Scriptures.
- The Formation—why the 66 books, how we got them, etc.
- Preservation of the Scriptures —dealing with criticism
- Rhyme and Reason—explaining that there is logic in believing what we do.
- Dealing with Contradictions
- How to get more from it —this is a walk through simple Bible study methods.
- Why we need it—what God intended for the Scriptures to do in our lives.