Michael Horton explains the “Greatest Ecclesiastical Threat Facing the Church Today.” Here he provides a helpful perspective on why the evangelical church is on the decline. He suggests,
“In an age when the faith of young Christians is going to be tested more than ever before, they are the least equipped to meet those challenges because they have not been integrated very well into the life of the living church. They have been in children’s church, youth group, then in a campus ministry, and they never had to join a church.”
I would agree with his assessment, but would like to add another culprit: the Christian College. Many Christian colleges see themselves as a surrogate to the church while the student is away from their home church. It is interesting that many parents and pastors alike urge college students to remain attached to the home church even though the student will spend nine of the twelve months of the next fours to five years at the college location. This provides the student an excuse to be nominally involved in the church they attend while at college, setting up a habit of nominal commitment for the future. Most colleges don’t set out to intentionally undermine the local churches, but policies, campus culture and sometimes teachings on the campus do just that. A healthier model might be for the parents and pastor of the sending church to assist the students in finding an appropriate local church to join while in college. This is perhaps one of the greatest teaching moments for both the pastor and the parents in the life of their child. It begins the process of understanding how to look and find a church wherever the student relocates after college.