A College Search is a Church Search
Updated: Jun 11, 2019
According to a recent survey by Lifeway Research, most Protestant young adults stop attending church between the ages of 18 and 22. (In their study, the exact percentage of young adults that discontinued regular church attendance was 66%. Fortunately, a majority of these stopouts returned to church later in life.) What's particularly interesting for our purposes, however, is that most (71%) of these stopouts said their leaving wasn't an intentional decision. They just sort of drifted into discontinuation.
"Almost half (47 percent) of those who dropped out and attended college say moving to college played a role in their no longer attending church for at least a year."
The point is clear, when Christians search for a college to attend, they often forget that they are also searching for a new church to join as well. Selecting a college is not just about finding a new school, it also about finding a new faith community. My encouragement therefore is to look beyond simply identifying what majors a school has to offer, or how generous it is in providing financial support. Spend some time and do an in-depth look at the churches that are near the college you are interested in. Discover if one would be a good fit for you.
In my experience working with college students, I've found that the majority of traditional age college students connect best with larger churches. That's probably because larger churches usually offer a more contemporary worship style, have a staff member dedicated to college ministry, and are more likely to have a core group of young adults who already attend. If you are curious if there is a large church (2,000 or more regular attendees) near a college you are interested in, you can start by visiting the Database of Megachurches in the U.S. and explore by state. Best wishes on your Church Search.