You went to chapel three times this week, and your homework load is staring you down after your weekend adventures. So why would you wake up to go to church on Sunday morning?
Although Point Loma is a Christian school, many students don’t prioritize attending church on a weekly basis. While there are many factors as to why some students would choose to go to church and some would not, Rebecca Laird, Professor of Christian Ministry and Practice, offers her own opinion of reasons that prevent students from regular church attendance: “It’s not that easy to belong. There are certain churches in town that are super aware of helping students connect and find a place of belonging that’s beyond just belonging with students you already go to school with, but church can be pretty anonymous. It’s not like growing up in a church where everyone knew your whole family and you had a natural affinity.”
Freshman information systems major, Ashley Okino, affirms Laird’s opinion on the difficulty of belonging in church: “Right now, it’s hard to find a church that fits me best. Getting a ride is very difficult, so I usually live-stream my home church.”
When students leave home and come to Point Loma, not only do they face the responsibility of forming a new academic environment and social community, but the responsibility of forming a new church family as well, if they choose to do so. New churches can lead to feelings of disconnect and discomfort. Regularly attending church to the point of belonging requires perseverance and commitment—which can be a struggle amidst the rush of college responsibilities.
However, freshman Christian studies major, Kassidy Fitzpatrick, emphasizes the beauty of finding a home church from her own personal experience. “I think it’s important to have a community of a variety of types of people, both older and younger people. There are opportunities to get involved in all sorts of ministries—and there’s something special about serving in a local church.”
In the same context, Laird shares the value of multi-generational community that churches provide: “It’s important to have people who are a few years older to mentor you and people who are a few years younger that you can be an example and friend to. The local church offers these kinds of connections.”
Sydney Mutch, a freshman international development major, gives her own advice for finding a church community. “Church provides the opportunity for a really great community outside of school, and you have the ability to find a church that fits you—with worship that you like and messages that you enjoy.”
With the benefits of a local church in mind, consider seeking out a new church—and finding an integral community beyond the Loma bubble.