If you are about to or have graduated from a Bible college, you know it can be extremely hard to adjust back to home life. When you leave you can feel depressed, alone, angry, frustrated, and distant from God. The spiritual and friendly environment you once had is gone and you need to go back to normal life. What you decide to do after graduation will make or break the next years of your life. This was especially hard for me when I came home after 2 years at the Word of Life Bible Institute in upstate New York. I went back home and everyone seemed the same. The only difference was that I wasn’t. I had been soaked by amazing Bible study and ministry 24/7. But you don’t have that in normal life. As a result, I became arrogant, stubborn, and bitter. It doesn’t sound pretty but it’s the truth. You will probably go from one extreme to the other.
At a good Bible College, you have:
- Regular group devotions/bible studies.
- Prepared teachers that are some of the top in the world.
- People around you that want to learn what God has for them…and actually talk about it!
- Clean environment with many temptations and distractions removed.
When you go home you find:
- Your same pastor that isn’t quite on the same level as your teachers (I’m not pastor-bashing, just stating a view).
- It’s a struggle for people just to come to church.
- People usually talk about everything except their Quiet Time.
- There’s usually no one to mentor you.
Years later, I realized what was missing, the one thing I wish I had learned: During college I had my spiritual life planned for me. In the real world you need to find it for yourself.
How do you do that? Here’s 5 tips I’ve found crucial in overcoming the post-bible college syndrome.
1) Daily Quiet Time. This might sound obvious but it’s worth stating. You are no different than anyone else and need time in God’s Word daily. And I mean DAILY. Don’t think you’re the exception to that rule.
2) Pray. Spend time regularly for prayer. Talk to God about your struggles and ask him to guide you through them.
3) Attend your church. You’ll probably be tempted to find a new church that matches your college experience. Don’t. Titus 2 is clear that a healthy church needs all generations.
4) Mentor a young person. You’ve just gained all this incredible Bible knowledge and experience. Why not use it to change someone else’s life.
5) Find a mentor. This one is tricky but if there’s someone that you think can help you grow talk to them about it. If you don’t have someone like that there’s many great study books and podcasts available. Personally, I listen to Pastor James MacDonald as one of my “mentors.”
Bible College is a training ground. It’s meant to prepare you. But you can’t rely on others to bring spiritual growth and ministry to you. You need to go out and make them.
I should note that I don’t do all these perfectly, but I do strive for them. Don’t get discouraged, and don’t give up on the church. It needs you. Go out and seek the Lord. Study your Bible. Mentor younger people in your church. What an impact it will have for them to see someone their age living out their faith.