How I Got Here (2): the College Years

I don’t remember why I chose to attend a Christian college.  I had considered Murray St, which was about an hour away, a lot of friends were going there, and they even had a nice Christian student center.  I think one reason I chose Freed-Hardeman, was that it was further from home.  Not that home was bad, but the adventure & independence appealed to me.

I was still pretty immature, typical 18 year old.  I left FHU four years later a lot more spiritually mature and with some Bible knowledge.

I saw my first marijuana joint at dear old FHU (you won’t see that in the brochures), but did not try any.  I didn’t drink or drug but like most college students did many stupid things I regret.  I really appreciated the Christian atmosphere because it was so easy to have friends and hang out with those who weren’t doing really stupid stuff every weekend.

The summer after my freshman year, I spent a semester in Florence, Italy.  I am not sharing this to brag, but because this was one of many ways that God worked in my life.  It was a great experience.   I gave my first “talk” or devotional while in Florence, Italy.  It was on or near July 4th and I talked about freedom in Christ from Galatians. My next post will bring out the main way that God used this summer for His purpose in my life a few years later.

I somehow ended up as chaplain of my social club.  For the uninitiated, Christian colleges often have co-ed social clubs which mirror fraternities and sororities in many ways.  I was a total goof-off at the time, and wasn’t seeking an office, but it happened and I grew because of it. That meant I would have more opportunities to study and teach the Bible.

My last year I finally starting maturing and had some opportunities to also grow spiritually.  I got more involved with a congregation (Estes Church of Christ) and a Bible class, even co-teaching one semester.  Our Bible class was also responsible for holding a service at the assisted living/senior housing place on campus. I participated in that, giving 10-15 minute lessons.

The Winter break of my senior year I made a significant life-changing decision, which I will share about next post.  My final semester I took three Bible classes just for fun as electives, and also went on a one-week Spring Break Campaign to Georgia with David Powell.  Door-knocking was a neat experience.  During my last two semesters, I would even occasionally daydream about preaching.  It was weird because even now I really don’t look forward to public speaking.

Also, at some point during my sophomore or junior year I bought my first NIV Bible.  That made a big difference.  I began reading a lot more, especially my senior year, and understanding a lot more than even with the NKJV.

I graduated in May of 1998 with a BA in English, with minors in History, Philosophy and lots of Bible hours (can’t remember if they were enough or the right ones for an official minor or not).

I can praise and thank God for many things that He accomplished in me, for me, and through me during my time at Freed-Hardeman and because of my time there..


19 thoughts on “How I Got Here (2): the College Years

  1. It’s funny how God takes us in directions we didn’t really intend to go. I often tell people that I ended up doing mission work because I fell in with the wrong crowd at ACU.

    I’m glad your road led you where it did.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

  2. The people I hung out with were too straight-laced for weed. I thought i was a rebel just having a small glass of wine when I visited my parents’ house every few months (Harding, of course, says no drinking, dancing or card playing while you are a student, no matter where you are in the world).

    I have very mixed feelings about having attended Harding. Had I not gone there I could have avoided A LOT of misery, some of which follows me to this day. I wouldn’ t have met my wife, and that would have been bad. I met her after Harding, but through contacts I made on a mission trip to Brazil while an HSBS student.

    Wait a minute. Didn’t you go through HSBS?

  3. Brian

    Yeah, I haven’t got to the SBS part yet.

    I also could mention the other side of attending a Christian college. I definitely won’t force my kids to attend one, and would actually prefer that they not attend FHU if they desire to be involved in missions/ministry. Just a little more honesty than some people probably wanted…oops

  4. Cool. I’ll look forward to seeing how you got to HSBS and what you experienced. You went through after me, I believe. I was in the Omega class (’99). Only Christian Churches guy I know of to have done that, and at least the first if nothing else. Dubious distinction, to say the least….

    I don’t know what to do about my kids and college. My wife and I always agreed that they should attend a couple years of Bible college, at least, or else a Christian university. That always meant an institution associated with Christian Churches or Churches of Christ. I’m not against that now, but am concerned about sending them into that environment. No Christian Churches Bible colleges around here (not that that would be particularly attractive too me either), and you probably know how I feel about Churches of Christ now.


  5. if we do our best to raise them, they will thrive at a state school, we need more young disciples at every college campus.

    or, even if we do our best to raise them, b/c of the whole free-will thing, even sending them to a Christian school may not help….

  6. True. My mother is Catholic and my father claimed no faith. I left the Catholic Church when I was 17 despite having attended every Mass except maybe 2 during my entire childhood (in case you’re curious, so much snow we couldn’t get out onto the road on both occasions). That and everything else about my upbringing stood against me “going Protestant.” There’s your free will for you.

    I’d still rather the kids go to a Christian university, though that doesn’t necessarily mean “Restoration Movement” any more. I’d rather their profs be theists, at least.

  7. I love your posts on this, but disagree with you on the state school comment. I’ve watched the facebook and myspace accounts of kids that choose state school over Christian school, and the difference over time is significant.

    Can’t wait for the HSBS discussion. Do you remember door knocking with me in Nevada, MO? And the side trip to Ft. Scott, KS?

  8. oh yeah, brad, we got a piece of Holy Kansas earth for your wife at the National Cemetery.

    oh dear, the fact that there is anticipation to the SBS years is scary. there won’t be an expose, only a summary of the good

  9. My time was a mix of good and bad, like life in general usually is. I don’t dislike Harding, HSBS or have any ill-will toward any or my profs or classmates. I just regret having gone there. That was the point when I turned down the wrong road, and it’s become a one-way with no exits. Well, there are exits, but they are pot-holed, full of large rocks, barely visible otherwise and run perilously close to thousand-foot-high cliffs.

  10. My general level of maturity and spirituality sound about the same as yours when I went to college. I am torn right now about what I would want my kids to go to; as you know our church has a wonderful campus ministry for Virginia Tech, and I can see a lot of maturity & spirituality in these kids that I didn’t have, mostly because of how they’re being challenged. For myself, I still think it was good that I went to a Christian university, because I feel like I would have gotten into a lot of trouble at a state school, where it’d be a lot easier to find all that “bad stuff.” I haven’t been on the computer much this week, it’s spring break, but I enjoyed catching up on your blog today.

  11. Enjoying your story. We all make mistakes growing up. I am just thankful for my parents that let me fail as a kid to see the consequences of my choices. As a product of a Christian HS to a public college, I just want my kids to be solid before they leave home and know that I will love them no matter what.
    Can’t wait to hear the rest of your story!

  12. I’m loving the story … like Tim, I can see how God was directing your life. My story isn’t much different than yours.

    I would say that a Christian school has more chances at positive influences. That’s just my opinion.

  13. Jeanne M.

    We insisted on our two children attending a Christian college – they got to choose where. Our son was definite he wouldn’t go to FHU – no hand holding, etc. on campus. How immature is that for making a choice? They both ended up at LCC, now LCU. She graduated, and met her mate at Sunset School of Preaching while he and her father were students there. Our son went to NJ with us when his father graduated, and then attended Northeastern Christian Junior College in Villanova, PA. He always seemed to choose the wrong students to “hang with,” and made many bad choices. Both children had a good, loving home environment, but were allowed to make many of their own choices in high school and college. So no matter how strong the Christian environment in the home, the choices we all make lead us down paths either good or bad. I grew up in a good Christian home, but went to a state college and was a rather rebellious young woman for the year I was there, Fortunately while there I met a woman who dated a young man who worked with my future husband. He became a Christian before we married, and has been the greatest stabilizer in my life. We were missionaries in the Northeast for over 39 years, and I can look back and see how the many choices we made brought us where we are today and be eternally grateful.

  14. Brian

    thanks for sharing, jeanne,
    you went to a state school, yet ended up as a preacher’s wife/mom serving the kingdom for the rest of your life. that’s cool.

    i think I would prefer my kids go to a Christian U but won’t be too upset if they are mature and decide to go to another school

  15. Brian, when we met in Kent, CT you were wearing a “Harding” t-shirt. So, I didn’t realize your connections to F-HC (now U). We’ll have more to talk about next time. Great stories. Keep going.

  16. Brian

    let’s plan to meet at the book sale and/or get a coffee in Kent, i just tried to register online but you can’t do it online yet

  17. Great story. I’m a Harding guy, and like you, an overseas trip was a transformative experience. Actually there were two. The first was a summer, between terms, on evangelistic campaigns in Holland and Austria. The second summer was as a mission intern in Augsburg, Germany. Fortunately learned that the ministry was not my calling. My older son didn’t go to a CofC school and we discouraged him from going to Harding. My younger son is at Lipscomb, enjoying it and having a great time. I’m impressed with them. I’m impressed with you.

  18. J D

    Brian, I’m waaaay behind in reading posts…but getting to it as I can. More than drawing any lessons or making any conclusions from this post, I’m just glad to get to know you better.

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