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Doubt & Discipline: How to Keep Faith in College
Contact: Joanne Levine, 847-327-9530

LIBERTYVILLE, Ill., June 10, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- College students tend to question their faith. According to Stephanie P. Kennedy, co-founder of www.mycollegeplanningteam.com, that's because students tend to experiment with the routines of discipline they practiced at home. Most professionals who study young adult development recognize that experimenting is normal behavior. But college student development specialists -- the "non-academic" staff who work with college students -- tend not to talk about faith development in students.

Stephanie Kennedy recently set out to conduct a bit of research of her own, beginning with how pastors and youth ministers in her area advise young people who go off to college. Pastors interviewed included: Jerry Bimber, Lombard Church of the Nazarene, Lombard, IL; Joe Jones, Grace Church, Warrenville, IL; Caleb Trimble, Westbrook Christian Church, Bolingbrook, IL; Terrence Ford, Victory Chapel, Bolingbrook, IL.

Doubting your faith is not bad.

It's a normal part of young adult questioning, according to Pastors Jones and Trimble. It is helpful, however, to have a good foundation (before going away from your home church support system) in understanding how God is real to you.

Be challenged, but strengthen your personal relationship with God.

How to stay strong? You might expect to hear what is high on every pastor's list: Read, study, pray. But also: Explore, learn, stay engaged. Let your faith grow and change with you.

Don't walk away in your "crisis of faith."

Instead, find solace, support, and some fun with older students who hold similar beliefs. Their mentoring may be just what you need in the difficult times. There is much to be learned from others' points of view.

Actively participate in a church of your faith tradition near campus.

Pastor Bimber encouraged a weekly visit to a church off campus to be involved with a variety of age spans in order to help keep your real-world perspective.

Serve others
Be active and of service in your community. This is a time to give of your talent and time because life, even college life, is not all about "me."

Stephanie P. Kennedy holds a Master of Science in Counseling and College Student Development. She helps students find colleges that are the best fit academically, socially, and with career focus through Wheaton, Illinois-based www.MyCollegePlanningTeam.com, 630.871.3300. Available for interviews.