Bible studies, wing church, worship nights, chapel – these are pieces of Taylor that are valued and critical to encouraging students to maintain their faith.
Taylor offers an abundance of opportunities for students to edify, sharpen and love one another. The Taylor community is undeniably the reason many of its students cherish their time here – justifiably so.
Despite the beauty of this place, how many are passively participating and limiting faith to culture simply because it is a part of “doing” Taylor? How many are willing to go beyond that surface level of engagement?
It is incredibly convenient to walk through the motions and to fit in and follow expectations, so much so that it is easy to forget to pay attention to the things God wants his children to be present for.
Director of Student Programs Steve Austin said that it is important to note that all of these things are normal in any setting – not just at a Christian college like Taylor. Someone can still take a passive posture in their own faith outside the Taylor bubble they live in.
Despite that, there is hope and life outside of that cycle.
There is a reason a community like the one at Taylor exists. Christians are meant to cultivate deep relationships with one another to grow in Jesus’ love.
“We have an invitation every day across our days – I have an invitation every day across my day – to move to receive God's love and move towards others in love,” Austin said.
Executive Director of GRIP Outreach for Youth Anwar Smith spoke on this topic at chapel in February. A Taylor alumnus, Smith said that students need to be willing to challenge one another unabashedly in their faith.
Find encouraging friends who ask hard questions. It is that component of being real and honest that sets one up for a deeper relationship with not just those around them, but also with God.
“We talk about our futures, we talk about these things, but what about our today?” Smith said. “What is our spiritual life? Then we just have to have these intentional conversations where you say, ‘Hey, can we give each other permission to challenge each other in our faith?’”
Proverbs 27:17 says that iron sharpens iron – no Christian should be alone. The edification of another believer can help someone identify blindspots and experience another perspective that may be uplifting.
English Hall Discipleship Coordinator Heather Bologna said that Christians should be calling out other Christians. There is a real benefit to living in a Christian community for this time of a Taylor student’s life.
“You're only here for four years,” Bologna said. “You're only here with, like, the resources the community, like, you need to take advantage of that.”
Beyond Taylor, students can still find a Christian community to help stretch their faith – but the here and now is what matters.
A critical part of opening up to those opportunities to grow is being present and intentional, Smith said. Be ready and willing to experience discomfort by talking about the messy and honest parts of our own lives.
Hebrews 3:12-15 talks about sharing in Christ, not just in his glory but also in his suffering.
Therefore, encourage one another today and walk away from that passive participation stance – not tomorrow, not one week from now. Today is the day that counts the most in experiencing the difficulties and the splendors of the Christian life with one another.
“For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”