Helping Your Students Choose a College – Tom Phillips

Lee Lethers Podcast

Where students go to college is a big deal. Today on the podcast, Brian is joined by Tom Phillips, Campus Pastor at the Word of Life Bible Institute to talk about the role a Christian College can play in the lives of our students.

Q: What did you intentionally do to help your kids make wise decisions on what to do after high school?

A: Give your students opportunities to hear advice that you as a parent would give them, but from those who are just a bit older than them. At age 15 we sent our kids on mission’s trips, and later, while they were on Word of Life Camp staff, they were discipled by college students who were older than them, understood them and helped them see life from a biblical perspective.

Both students and parents are tempted to only care about which school will prepare them to make the best living. The parents will have to be won over as well.

Q: As campus pastor, have you had students whose parents were not ok with choosing a Christian Bible school?

A: There are 3 kinds of potential students in any college scenario. We try to minister to all three and help them sharpen each other.

  1. Homeschool students – Parents think their students are well enough prepared from their own Biblical teaching. However, the Word of Life Bible Institute’s classes are more foundational.
  2. Christian school students – They have already done 4 years of Bible classes and do not think they need any more. However, the community and culture of a Bible college is what develops friendships and a heart for ministry.
  3. Public school students – Bible college is a whole new world and changes everything about education for them.

Q: What advice do you have for finding ways to afford Christian higher education?

A: Sending students to school with little or no debt is possible. All three of my sons went to Christian colleges without debt.

Pick the best Christian education for the best cost. Find scholarships, class credits and work that applies to your students’ specific situation. Contact the school’s admissions, academic advisors and financial aid. They want to help your student get there.

Each of my sons went to a different college. None of them went to their first choice, but they finished debt free. This avoided the hindrances debt can create when wanting to go into ministry.

Q: What is the biggest life change for students here in the first few years of a Christian education?

A: Students start to get into the Word of God and experience ministry. Their motives for education change. Instead of just learning how to make a living, they begin to learn how to live in a world that needs the gospel and how to be a light. They find that they can serve God and still make a living.

Q: How do I convince both parents and students that Bible college is important?

A: Visit the Word of Life Bible Institute campus for a weekend (free food and housing, some activities and classes). Get students to be a part of Missions trips, come to camp and meet the counselors (Word of Life Bible Institute students). Join the Word of Life Camp Crew.

Q: At what point in your sons’ lives did their call to ministry begin to take shape?

A: By the time they graduated from the Word of Life Bible Institute, they had met the girl they were going to marry, they had developed an incredible passion for the Word of God, and they loved Christian service. They went to their next college serving God and staying in the Word, with the godly wife that would serve with them.

Closing Thoughts:

Give input to your students, as much as they will receive, towards making the decision that will help them grow into the man or woman God wants them to be.

Some may worry that their students who go off to Bible college will move on and never come back to help their church. God will use their global service to expand your ministry beyond your expectations.

More Information:

Word of Life Bible Institute Website: