Ole Miss students determined to keep their lives Christ-centered in a college environment
By Maggie McDaniel, freshman journalism major, Meek School of Journalism and New Media
Email Maggie McDaniel at email@example.com
Coming to college can sometimes have a negative effect on going to church. That’s according to at least one local pastor who ministers to Ole Miss students.
“Statistics say 20 percent of active church going Christians will be active churchgoers in college all of their four years,” said Pat Ward, the pastor at The Orchard church in Oxford Mississippi.
Of course, that means that 80 percent stop attending services regularly.
“College has become a phase of life where it brings much freedom. And it is seen to make you lost,” said Ward.
Some students at the University of Mississippi are trying hard not to get lost, but Lizze McChesney says it hasn’t always been easy. Her first semester was rocky, because she got caught up in sorority life and fitting in. She often skipped out on going to church and doing daily devotions because she stayed out late and went to many parties.
“When coming to Ole Miss, I left home with the idea that I was going to share my faith and live the life God laid out for me. My actions last semester… changed my life and my relationship with Christ, but now it is the strongest it has ever been, and it is an amazing feeling to not feel convicted or guilty of my previous actions. He has set me free.”
McChesney turned to a campus organization for spiritual support.
“After finding Young Life,I felt convicted and realized there is a way bigger picture in life,” says McChesney.
Other Christian organizations on campus include Crusade, which attracts many sororities and fraternities, the Baptist Student Union, which has about 150 students attend each week and Reformed University Fellowship, which has many students attend on Wednesday nights.
Despite the many workship options on campus, sometimes church just falls down on the priority list.
“I think that most students believe they do not have enough time with the extra activities, school work and “most importantly” social life,” said Mary Stamper Grogan a freshman who says she struggles with her faith.
“I think, like me, college students go through the motions of being a Christian but rarely do they take the extra time or go the extra mile to improve their faith,” says Grogan.
Peer pressure can also play a role.
“Friends decide to go out and get drunk, so they do too. It is not that these people are being forced to do anything, they merely see this as a typical college lifestyle so they go with it,” says Grogan.
Ward is optimistic, though – he takes the long view.
“On their way out into a new doorway to the real world I think they do come back, but the reason could be age or a new adventure.”