From the interview conducted by Michael Morales of Ligonier Ministries.
Michael: As you know, Reformation Bible College will be giving away your book Thriving at College: Make Great Friends, Keep Your Faith, and Get Ready for the Real World! (Tyndale) to every student accepted into our undergraduate programs. Why write this book? What led you to believe such a book was needed—what were you seeing or not seeing in the collegiate life of young Christian men and women that compelled you to write this?
Alex: College is this glorious, crucially significant “in between” stage. You’re on the threshold of adulthood. Most enter college under their parents’ care and financial support. But if it’s done right, they’ll graduate as men and women ready to assume an adult role in an interdependent society and as a functional, contributing member of a local church.
In short, college should be a launching pad into all that goes with Christian adulthood. Yet for some it’s a time when they abandon the Christian faith, never to return, giving evidence that they never really belonged to Christ (I John 2:19). For others, their faith remains intact, but college is a somewhat frivolous season of entertainment, recreation, and amusement—an expensive vacation funded by Mom, Dad, and student loans. And many learn to privatize their Christian faith, worshiping God on Sunday but never seeing their academic life as an expression of their devotion to God.
I was particularly prompted to write this book by the widespread phenomenon of delayed adolescence – young adults failing to launch. A third of all 22-34 year old men are still living with their parents. Many college students have an entitlement mentality, as if a high GPA, a summer job, money, and success are all supposed to come easily (like the trophy in Little League they got for showing up). There’s an inflated sense of self-worth, a sense of personal greatness not grounded in actual accomplishments. Thankfully, that doesn’t describe all young adults or college students, but the trend is sufficiently common in our day that many commentators, Christian and otherwise, are taking notice.
I wrote Thriving at College to help young people transition well – to not just keep the faith, but to dig deeper than they ever thought was possible. To not just stumble upon a major, but to wisely discover their calling. To not just have a blast with friends, but to cultivate lifelong relationships of substance with those who most provoke them to trust and love God. To put away childishness, to make wise choices, and as missionary William Carey once said, to “expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.” In short, to make the very best of their college years.