Last May, our rhetoric students went on a missions trip to Berkeley, California with Stand to Reason. "Stand to Reason trains Christians to think more clearly about their faith and to make an even-handed, incisive, yet gracious defense for classical Christianity and classical Christian values in the public square." Brett Kunkle, the Student Impact Director at Stand to Reason, led the missions trip. During the trip, our students met with atheist professors and engaged college students in conversation on the campus of U.C. Berkeley. Siri Statom, class of 2017, shares her thoughts on the Berkeley mission trip.
The Stand to Reason trip to Berkley was a great experience with highs and lows. It is the highlight of the year for all the apologetic students at my school. The apologetics class prepared all year and now the skills they learned were put to the test. I have included 4 ways your student can benefit from this trip and reasons you should have your student attend.
1. Introduce your student to the mindset of a college student
The Berkeley trip will allow your student to dig into the mind of an average college student attending a secular school. They will talk with students of the U.C. Berkeley campus asking questions that allow for discussion on topics, such as God’s existence, morals, and Christianity. In turn, they will be asked questions about their faith and learn what college students believe. This is a great way to open your student’s eyes before they go into the world themselves.
2. Challenge your student’s faith
Your student has been prepared through apologetics all year and now it is time to put what they’ve learned into practice. They will be challenged to defend their faith by college students and atheist professors. Right now you are probably envisioning an atheist professor going head on with your student. Don’t worry that is not what is going to happen. As a team, you will ask questions to get the atheist thinking about the possible holes in his worldview. He will ask your student’s team why what they believe is a better answer. This allows for the student to reply and take the challenge. Your student will come out of these conversations with questions, and they will be addressed in the debriefing with the leader.
3. Strengthen your student’s faith
Your student will come out of this trip with a strengthened faith. The truth has been hidden from many of the students and professors in Berkeley. Their worldviews are weak, and they have never thought through what your student has. This lack of truth in Berkeley will leave your student saddened, yet strong in their faith. It will arouse a longing to share what Christianity has to offer with a world that is desperate for truth. Your student will realize that their faith is the only one that gives adequate answers for the big tough questions, such as "Where do morals come from?", "Is truth subjective or objective?", and "Why are we here?"
4. Your student’s social barrier will be removed
Maybe, like me, your student has been raised in a conservative town and attended a Christian school. For many there is a social barrier. Sometimes high school students find the transition to college difficult due to a social barrier. This trip will help students relate to others from a different background at the correct time in their life. They will be entering this world soon, and removing this barrier while still in school will allow the transition to be smoother. This trip is an introduction to the world. These are just a few things your student can learn from attending the Stand to Reason trip to Berkeley. They will be well equipped before attending and will have a great time. Here's another student's perspective on this remarkable trip.