College Life

by Pastor Patrick Cho

When late August rolled around, I couldn’t believe that we were already in full swing for College Life. In previous years we didn’t have to worry about the start of the school year until late September because UCSD’s academic calendar begins then. But with a heightened involvement at SDSU and their semester calendar, we needed to have things up and running much sooner. Even with the quicker start to the year, it has still proven to be a successful start. Pondering the first few months of the school year, I can pinpoint at least four reasons why College Life has gotten off to such a great start.

Fundamental Commitment

We began the school year with a message on the pillars of College Life. What principles do we want to build our ministry on? What commitments do we want to make now that we want to see ourselves faithful to a decade from now? We agreed that we want College Life to be committed to glorifying God, teaching God’s Word, representing Christ on campus, enjoying genuine fellowship, and providing helpful discipleship. We also wanted to help our students understand the importance of being committed to the local church and being a part of the church family. As the opening months of the school year have gone by, we have seen this commitment fleshed out.

Our collegians know that College Life is not just about entertaining them or making them feel good about themselves. In fact, this past summer we went through a series on the doctrines of grace and one of the topics they were most blessed by was the depravity of man. Only Spirit-filled, God-fearing Christians could get excited about learning more about their own depravity! Seeing these students’ desire to grow in the things of God evinces that they are committed to the same things College Life is committed to, and that they have decided to be part of this ministry so that we can all grow together in that direction.

Faithful Staff

College Life has always been blessed with an incredible staff. Their commitment to the students has really benefitted the group and, I believe, has influenced many students to stay at Lighthouse. The College Life senior staff consists of four married couples, one engaged couple, and eight single adults. They are Patrick and Christine Cho, Jin and Grace Lee, Hansol and Angella An, Johnny and Mimi Kim, Tim Yu, Stephanie Shin, Derek Chew, Simon Huang, Randy Tsuchiyama, Teddy Yu, Courtney Chow, Cindy Chu, Karen Yi, and Naomi Yu. Not too churches offer their collegians an opportunity to receive dedicated discipleship and counseling from older, more experienced believers. What is more encouraging is that these staff members applied for these positions. We didn’t have to coax them into serving. They wanted to serve in this capacity because of their love for the Lord and for the collegians.

Besides the senior staff, we have a team of student staff members who help with the planning and administration of the group. Some of them even help lead small groups for the first and second year students. The student staff has been an incredible encouragement as we have gradually given them more and more responsibilities each year. This year, our student staff consists of Daniel Chong, Byron Dang, Ryan Short, Joo Yoon, Amy Cheng, Yuen Kwong, Vicky Williams, and Kristen Yee.

Together, these staff members have committed themselves to the ministries at SDSU and UCSD. The men on staff have been doing most of the teaching midweek and the entire staff has worked hard to make sure the students are growing and being held accountable to their profession of faith. Besides the staff members, many of the upperclassmen have gone out of their way to meet up with the younger collegians and to make themselves available for them.

Freshman Involvement

For whatever reason, in years past, our freshman retention rate was never really good. Perhaps the first years were not used to the longer messages that Lighthouse has come to be known for. Perhaps other ministries were doing more to make the freshmen feel welcome. Whatever the reason, not too many freshmen stuck out their first year of college in College Life. This year, that trend seems to have changed. Of course, there are always freshmen who through their church hopping experiences decide to commit elsewhere. And that’s ok. But we are really thankful for the ones who have decided to stay. We hope we can challenge them in their walks with God and in their thinking to be more conformed to the teaching of God’s Word. They have also added a lot of color to the group with their unique personalities and vibrant spirits. It was especially great to see a number of them at this year’s All-Church Retreat.

Fanatic Excitement

As single adults and married people in the working community know very well, there is a great excitement and enthusiasm during college. This is not anything new, but still it is great to see our collegians channel their energy and enthusiasm for the Lord. This year, we have asked the collegians to stay for a third hour on Sundays for College Life large group. This makes for a guaranteed six hour Sunday. That’s not easy for anyone! Even though we have adjusted the schedule to meet every other week, we understand that we are still asking a lot. Still, the collegians didn’t complain (at least to me!), and we are hoping that in the end everyone will conclude that the effort was well worth it. There is great encouragement to not only see the collegians’ willingness to come out each week, but to also see the evidence of their love for the Lord and their fervent worship.

These are just some of the reasons why I feel College Life has gotten off to a great start. Certainly we haven’t done everything perfectly. With all the changes this year, especially with being more involved at San Diego State University, there was a lot of adjustment that needed to be made. The collegians, though, have shown great patience with me (as always!) and have striven to make the most of the opportunities we’ve had to fellowship. I’m excited to see how much more the Lord will do through the group for the remainder of the school year.

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The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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