I’ve Finished Bible College… Now What?
Greg grew up in church, his family are charismatic Christians who love the Lord and love the Word. Greg gave his life to follow Christ when he was 14 and when he was 15 he had an encounter with God where he felt this overwhelming call to the mission field of Chile. He knew that moving overseas and teaching people about redemption through Christ was his purpose.
As soon as Greg finishes high school, he goes to Bible College. This was the best two years of his life – hundreds of people around him were there for the same purpose that he was; to learn the Bible and prepare for their calling in the ministry.
He was surrounded by friends and a community who were on the same page. He was getting ‘fed’ the Word 4 hours a day and he couldn’t wait for these two years to be over so that he could fulfill the dream that was deep inside of Him. Greg knew that God had called him to great things.
Almost 2 years had gone by and graduation was approaching quickly. He was beginning to receive that dreaded question over and over again… “so, what are your plans after graduation?”.
Why was this question so daunting? Well, because Greg didn’t know the answer. He’d sought God in his personal time of prayer and also in the College chapel services concerning this and received 0 answers… “what is the next step, God?” he would ask.
Greg came to the conclusion that post-graduation would be a season of waiting. Graduation happened and he saw his friends quickly leave town to fill positions in churches and various ministries. Some went back home and just got a normal 9-5 job – and here was Greg…. waiting on the Lord, waiting to hear what he was to do next.
He gets a full-time job and is excited at first to actually have some extra cash on hand (student life was rough… hooray for no more ramen for dinner!), but after 6 months he falls into a slump… a cloud comes over him. He isn’t excited to be serving at church anymore. His friends have all left and he feels ashamed that he’s not doing what he knows in his heart he’s meant to do – going to the mission field of Chile.
How long is this waiting season going to last? He feels so frustrated…
Greg fell into a post Bible College funk.
Funk; a state of undesirable emotions of feeling out-of-sorts. These feelings may include (but are not limited to): sadness, boredom that is unusually difficult to curb, laziness, unworthiness and an overall feeling of malaise.
Folks, this happens more often than you think to Bible College graduates. If it didn’t happen to you, it happened to someone you know.
This funk looks different for everyone and I’ve talked to various people that have gone through a weird season after graduation.
One lady I talked to was even working for a ministry and fell into this. Let’s call her Dianna. Dianna stopped going to church and started to resent the work of the ministry.
“So after you graduated, you started a job in the ministry and you still fell into a post Bible College funk?” I asked her.
“Yep! It was so weird… but Bible College was such a high and when it was over I felt like life came to a halt. I moved back home with hopes to prepare to launch onto the mission field, but God told me to move back to the town I did bible college in. I was obedient and moved back, but I was not willing…”.
Thankfully she had some good friends who encouraged her to start going to church again. After 6 months and some adjustments in attitude, she got back into the rhythm of going to church, serving and is more on fire for God now than ever.
“Do you know what caused this funk, Dianna?” I asked her.
“I have a pretty good idea. I relied on the feeding of the Word from Bible College, so when I graduated I wasn’t getting fed spiritually anymore…” she replied.
The truth is, Bible College is like a cruise ship. You know exactly the purpose you’re on the cruise, you’re getting fed amazing food (and a large variety of it) and you’re around a community of people that are all there for the same reason. Cruises are 7 days where you have the opportunity to relax and let everything be done for you.
During Bible College, you know the purpose you’re there, you’re constantly getting fed amazing teaching from the Word, as well as prayer meetings and worship services happening several times a week (not to mention a few conferences a year) and there’s a community that you have access to where you’ll make beautiful, like-minded friends. Basically, you can take it easy for a couple years and enjoy the ride (even if it’s a struggle, you have to admit these were the best years of your life).
How do you get into a post Bible College funk? The answer is simple… and so is the solution to get out of it.
You’re missing something you had during Bible College that you’re not getting anymore.
1. The Feeding of the Word
Now that you’re not in Bible College anymore, you have to learn to feed yourself. No one is going to spoon-feed the Bible into your mouth anymore. You have to be disciplined to get into a study & prayer routine for yourself.
During Bible College, were you creating the community around you or were you invited into it? You may have to take the step to become the ‘initiator’ and invite folks around.
3. Purpose & Direction
As I mentioned before – everyone knows the reason they’re on a cruise ship… vacation, duh! A lot of people know why they’re in Bible College – there’s a purpose to go to school everyday. Once that is over, it can seem daunting not knowing what the next step is.
But what if you’re like Greg? You have an idea of the long term purpose, but you’re missing the next step?
I was talking to my father-in-law, John Grunewald. Him and Michelle have been on the mission field for over 25 years, but they didn’t go until 13 years after they graduated Bible College.
“We never had a clear word that we were called to a certain country, but we had a draw to Europe. We started going to prayer meetings for Europe and then as the desire to go there grew, we knew it wasn’t the right time to go yet, so we did everything we could to help send people there by helping with the admin side of their ministries. We didn’t always want to do this, but it kept us heading in the right direction”.
Now, John & Michelle have been on the mission field for over 25 years! They are fulfilling the purpose God has for them.
Get your hands dirty and help people get to where you want to go. If you know you’re called to pastor, volunteer at church and pray for your pastor. If you know you’re called to the mission field, help send someone; with your finances, skills or prayer.
You may not always like it, but it will keep you heading in the right direction.
If you will do what is at hand to do in your local church, helping other ministries or even helping in your community—stay in motion. God will make sure you get to what He put in your heart… but a parked car never goes anywhere.
Even if you never attended Bible School and you find yourself facing this same challenge from growing up in church, or after you got saved and you know your fire has waned, God is faithful to you!
What was the cause of the ‘funk’? Lack of being fed the Word, lack of community, lack of purpose & direction? Whatever it is, you can get out of it and fulfill the purpose of God on your life today.
Jeremiah 29:11For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.