More choices is always better.
This department store sells more brands. That ice cream shop has more flavors. This town has more churches.
More choices means ACU students have plenty of options for choosing a church. There’s only one place to eat on a Friday night at 2 a.m., but on Sunday morning, you can take your pick of the various churches Abilene has to offer.
You could go to a different church every week. You’re even guaranteed to see a fellow student at any church you visit.
On the other hand, you may have given up on ever finding a good church at all. You may not even start the search, preferring to stay in bed and stream online content from your church back home.
Both of these decisions are wrong.
Living the Christian life is more than listening to various sermons. It’s more than the denomination or the worship style you prefer. The Christian life at its core is intimate relationships with God and His children.
Jesus said in John 17:21 (NLT), “ I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one””as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” When Jesus prayed, he asked for complete unity among believers. This is the purpose of church and one of the most important things any Christian can do because Jesus never intended for believers to do the Christian life alone.
Yes, many students do find a home church to get involved in. Others do not consider themselves Christians and don’t attend church at all. But the rest of the students are suffering from too many choices.
This fits with psychologists’ understanding of how the brain processes choices. According to the American Psychological Association, people are more likely to make a choice if they have fewer options. The brain is happier with a choice between three items versus a choice between 20 items.
But because Abilene has 63% more religious organizations per capita than the average for the state of Texas, according to the U.S. Religion Census, ACU students have too many choices for their brains to be happy.
At this point in the year, most students have spent 20 Sundays in Abilene since they arrived in August. There may be other reasons you’re not going to church -doctrinal issues, doubting your faith, introverted tendencies – but still it shouldn’t take this long. If you haven’t found a church by now, then it’s time to fight the problem of too many choices and just choose.
You shouldn’t settle for a church that has different core beliefs than you, but settling for a lonely faith is even worse.
Pick a church, even if its only because your girlfriend goes there, and get involved by making friends or participating in events. Stay at one church for a long time, allowing yourself to become a part of a family of God.
Your brain may not be happy with all these choices, but your spirit will never be happy if you’re trying to live the Christian life all alone.