Something weird happens to a lot of people when they are at Bible College, I call it Biblecollegeitis. You know if you have Biblecollegeitis if any of the following are true:
- When someone asks you about the origin (The State of Origin) you think they were talking about the heretic Origen and reply “Yeah I don’t like him he was a heretic.”
- You think that the most interesting aspect of 24 is Jack Bauer’s utilitarianism not the fact that he kills a bunch of people and saves the world from nuclear destruction.
- You act like being right is always more important than relationships.
- Your vocabulary rivals that of Don Carson’s.
- You think if people haven’t read the book you have just finished they are obviously not as well read or as intelligent as you.
- You think you need to correct everyone on everything or have an opinion on everything.
- You would rather read a profound book than a faithful book.
- You believe in your heart that the people at your church don’t really know how to run a church, manage their lives, raise their kids or even think and that is why they need someone with a Bible college degree telling them how to do these things.
- You have used the word fructify in a sentence in the last two weeks.
- You think Barth is a great evangelical theologian who got the Bible right when in reality he was a liberal who confuses the gospel.
If this is you, don’t worry help is here. I didn’t want to be this kind of guy coming out of Bible College. I wasn’t entirely successful at coming out Bible college a normal person and I have had people at my church lovingly knock a few edges off me. But here are some things that I did through Bible College that helped me be semi normal when I finished.
- I had loads of non Christian friends. I think I had more non Christian friends than I did Christian friends. This was great because I was in touch with the people I wanted to lead to Jesus. I heard where they were at, I prayed for them, I laughed with them, I cried with them. I worked my butt off to not be enveloped by the Christian ghetto that was my Bible college. (By the way I love the college I went to and wouldn’t trade my time there for the world!) When was the last time you hung out with a non Christian?
- I had my sermons critiqued by lay people. Here are some of the things that were said about my preaching. “You didn’t understand us”, “You didn’t connect with us”, “that was a Lazy way to make that point!” “What the hell was that all about?!?” This did hurt but what it made me do was understand the people at church and seek to craft my sermons to communicate to them. When was the last time you got feedback from a lay person about your sermons?
- I tried to listen to people’s lives. I went out to lunch with the 40 year old single woman and the man who was in his third marriage and the wife of the unbelieving husband and many others as well. My time with them was not just about what I could do for them (although I hope I helped them by pointing them to Jesus and his gospel) my time with them was about hearing their stories. Hearing how hard it was to be divorced, hearing how hard it was to be single for the last 20 years, hearing how hard it was to have your kids walk away from Jesus because they are following their unbelieving father. I listened and I found that I knew a lot about theology but these guys could teach me so much about applying that theology. I realised that when it came to life I was a baby and these people were veterans. I just listened and learnt.
- I had normal fun. I played Bball, I did gigs, I saw movies and musicals and bands. I tried to have a normal life and tried to know what was happening in the real world.
- I had Christian friends who laughed and joked a lot. My saving grace in college sometimes was my friends at college. We ripped each other off constantly, we laughed at each other, we laughed at the stupid parts of Christian culture. We laughed and laughed and laughed. We made sure we took Jesus seriously and but not ourselves.
The question is not whether or not you will be a perfect preacher or a great theologian or pastor when you come out of college, the real question is will you be a person who is able to relate to people, who is able to be approachable, who loves people and who comes across as loving, a person who truly believes the Bible but will be able to lovingly share your beliefs with your church or youth group. Will you be that person when you are handed your degree?