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Students seek involvement in local church

Survey of students shows they value attending church regularly.   |   Stephen Frederick/THE CHIMES

 

Though approximately 50 percent of America has not attended a church service in the past six months according to a Barna study, 81 percent of 195 surveyed Biola students say they attend church every week.

Unable to commit

The Biola survey also showed 93 percent of students find attending church on a regular basis important. However, 37 percent of students do not volunteer at church, despite the church believing its members are similar to the members of a family in which everyone has certain responsibilities.

“The church is known as the body of Christ... and so the church is this group or family of people who are bound together under the head, Jesus, and who are committed chiefly to the well-being of one another and ultimately the wellbeing of the world through mission,” said Uche Anizor, associate professor of biblical and theological studies.

Some students do not intentionally neglect going to church or getting involved, but often feel like they cannot make the time commitment or feel like their involvement at school remains enough.   

A good balance

“I think that it’s hard for a lot of Biola students to get involved in the church because they feel so involved here with so many Christian ministries and go to chapel,” said Sarah Florenzie, junior elementary education major. “I’ve heard from a lot of students that they just get discouraged, like, they’ll try and get involved but it just doesn’t really work out or they’re busy or they’re tired or there’s always different things that come up.”

While some students see how it is hard to get involved in the church, junior human biology major Jordan Javellana feels he has seen a good balance of involvement at Biola.

“I’ve seen a good amount of both, where there are a lot of people who volunteer and serve in the church and then there’s also a lot of people who just don’t go to church or just attend church,” Javellana said.

Different levels of engagement

Anizor also discussed how students engage at three different levels, including those who invest heavily in the church, do not go to church at all or land in the middle. For those in the middle, they spottily attend church because they do not have a solid grounding in the church, according to Anizor. Undeclared freshman Lauren McLeod believes one should go to church despite the difficulties and lack of current involvement.

“I feel especially for my class —freshmen —it’s hard to get involved in church just because it’s a very busy time in our lives and we’re trying to figure out stuff,” McLeod said. “I feel like it’s really important to just go to church, even if you’re not involved yet, but eventually get involved.”

Professor of biblical and theological studies David Talley believes involvement in the local church remains a necessity for students because followers are meant to contribute to the body of believers.  

“The reason you’re not lone rangers is because you need other people in your life investing in you and you need to assume the responsibility of investing in other people. It’s a mutual edification, it’s a mutual building one another up,” Talley said.

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