How Easy Is It To Lose Faith in College? Video – The Jacket

How do students treat their faith after they leave your student ministry and head to college?

This 2.5 minute video illustrates the point very well. Will the faith of your teens be set aside like an old jacket?

Here are some discussion questions I would recommend you use with your seniors. If we never get real with them, what can we expect? It is my prayer that these will break the ice and open the way for real dialogue about the near future and how they will handle their newfound freedom, busy schedules, temptations, and choices.

  • What is your first response after watching this? What feelings or thoughts did it stir up?
  • If the jacket represents this student’s faith in Christ, how would you describe that faith?  What tends to happen to faith that can be taken on or off like a jacket? Why do you think that is?
  • What happened to the students’ friends as the video went on? How could isolation from supportive community be part of the problem for students who are tempted to toss faith aside?
  • One way people have described this kind of understanding of faith is that it’s mostly about behaviors—things we do or don’t do to act like a Christian.  What would you say in response to that? How is that different from saying God’s grace through Jesus Christ is at the core of faith? (Check out Ephesians 2:1-10 for Paul’s response to this).
  • What do you think a college student—or high school student—can do to keep their faith from becoming like a jacket? What would you say to people like the guy in the video who feel like they’ve blown it in some way and tossed their faith aside?


5 thoughts on “How Easy Is It To Lose Faith in College? Video – The Jacket

  1. It is all about identity development. At some point in every person’s life we have to come to the conclusion that “Christ-follower” is who we are and not just something we do. Because of the design of our culture and the college experience this identity development often takes place in our 20’s. The concerning thing to me is that during those years we are less likely to have meaningful interaction with numerous mature adults who have well developed identities. This is especially true for Christians. There is a vacuum of interactions between students developing their identity as Christians and mature Christians who can help them along in this process. Mature Christians need to be intentionally present within the lives of students. Mature Christians need to be available and vulnerable to students as they wrestle with the tough questions about who they are going to be.

  2. I never had any faith to start with going into college, therefore had nothing to lose. The one error you make is the tacit assumption that Christian raised youth started out having faith and somehow lose it when they leave for college. For many (like myself) we never really had it to start with—we just went along for the ride without making waves because we were dependents living at home. Because we also know the risks of being treated like shit if if we “come out” as atheists in a Christian family and community. In may U.S. bible belts it’s worse than coming out as gay.

    I personally would never tolerate some self appointed Christian guardian intruding on my life by being “intentionally present” while I’m in college. I’d toss you out on your ear.
    Also, there is nothing wrong with unattached people choosing to have sex. It’s a normal biological human function—just be responsible and take proper precautions.

    • Joe:
      While I agree that many people (college age or otherwise) “leave” the faith because they were never really believers in the first place, I disagree that my “tacit assumption” about kids raised in the church is wrong. The stats are all over about church going teens dropping their faith in college and a percentage returning to the church later in life.

      Why do you seem so angry about setting up safe guards against that happening? And also this post is not so much about having a “christian guardian intruding” as it is about training teens to be on guard for themselves as they go off to a new environment where there they have to be accountable for themselves.

      You mentioned that you left the church because you never really accepted it in the first place. Would you say that there is no God? Do you think there is no absolute truth to which we are accountable too?

      (i’m not even going to address your comment about casual sex as that is so off topic for this post it will only distract us from a -hopefully- productive conversation.)

      • If you’re asking if I’m an atheist—the answer is yes. However that is not the same as proclaiming “god doesn’t exist”—only that without compelling evidence there’s no reason to believe one does. I’m not going to get into any futile discussions except to say that while I do believe in objective “truths” they are not decreed by divine authority or accepted as a matter of faith. I prefer the terms– “reality” and “facts” which for me comes by way of observable, testable, demonstrable evidence—always under the rue-brick of skepticism and critical thinking.

        Now everyone has the right to believe as they see fit, Christians and atheists alike. All I was trying to say was that I personally would not take kindly to anyone telling me what to think and believe though peer pressure or the “safeguards” you spoke of. But that is me. If, however a young person welcomes or permits what I perceive as unwanted intrusions during a time of introspection and personal reflection then so be it.

        My own experiences however did not reflect this. My departure from “the faith” showed me that it was their faith, not mine. To the Christian community I was seen as straying, lost, degenerate and was met with a litany of discordant emotions and confrontational tactics. This only solidified my atheist position which I finally came to realize I always held.

        I stuck to my guns and though social relationships were jeopardized I have never felt more liberated and free. For me the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can’t give way is an offer of something not worth having. I want to live my life taking the risk all the time like I don’t know anything like enough yet.

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