Breaking Out of the Christian Bubble

Private evangelical Christian schools can be dangerous. I should know; I’m finishing my last semester at one as a seminary student.

It’s not that I don’t like them. I’m actually very grateful for the education I have received at my university. In fact, I would do it all over again! But there is risk involved whenever a Christian chooses to go the route of private evangelical schooling. Here, we call it the “Bubble.”

Breaking Out of Christian Bubble

Life in My Christian Bubble

The meaning of the “Christian Bubble” is not hard to recognize. Students who attend these schools tend to live in a world where everyone is Christian, at least nominally. We create this utopian society inside a bubble, and have very little contact with people in the outside world. This hit me one day during my second year.

Here I was, studying in seminary with a bunch of evangelical Christians. I worked remotely for a ministry with a bunch of evangelical Christians. I went to church every week with a bunch of evangelical Christians. I had been living in Los Angeles for over a year, and I still did not know one person in the city who was not a Christian! Los Angeles!!

I do not blame the university for a moment. This was on me. I needed to realize that a private school was not going to spoon-feed me everything I needed to live faithfully as a Christian. After all, our purpose on earth is not just Bible studies and fellowship with other Christians until we go to Heaven.
God has called us to make disciples everywhere (Matthew 28:19), to preach the word in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2). Jesus said that we are to be the “salt” of the world, and we dare not lose that quality (Matthew 5:13). He goes on to say that we are to be the “light” of the world, and we would be foolish to keep our light covered. 

There is a temptation to soak in all this knowledge of God and keep it for ourselves. There is a temptation to think that life inside our nice utopian bubble is the Christian life. But this is far from the truth. For students attending private Christian schools, we need to be even more intentional about our calling to live as ambassadors in a world that is not our home (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Breaking Out of My Bubble

Once I realized this, I grew desperate. I felt complacent on the inside, but biblically I knew that I needed opportunities to experience community with non-Christians. I needed to carve out a space in my schedule to interact with people outside of my Christian bubble.
As a full-time graduate student holding a part-time job and volunteering at my church, this was not easy. But I went online and searched for community groups in the south Los Angeles area. I discovered a website called Meetup, which connects people with local communities all around the world. I was shocked to discover how many different social communities exist in my area through Meetup!
I ended up joining a group that gathered to play board games that made it explicit that it is a safe space for people with same-sex attraction. I have never been huge on board games, nor do I have same-sex attraction, so this sounded perfect! People who were not like me! Admittedly, I was nervous on the first day I met with them. As they were friendly toward people with same-sex attraction, how would they respond to an evangelical seminary student?? As it turned out, they were very welcoming!
I learned a lot about same-sex attraction from these members, which helped me to understand their community. And I enjoyed building friendships with them, though I was only able to stay with the group for a couple of months, as shifts in my life pulled me away. I would have liked more opportunities to deepen these relationships and eventually share my faith more explicitly. But I believe God still used that time.

Sometimes we can be a light by simply sharing that we are Christians, and then not acting like it’s our job to fix people who simply need a loving friend.

Does Your Bubble Need Busting?

Many of you can relate to these Christian bubbles we inevitably find ourselves in, even if you don’t attend a private Christian school. I would encourage you to venture beyond your bubbles through Meetup or another social app. What are your hobbies or interests? There’s probably a group for them near you. Go for it! Get to know people. As you do, I believe God will create opportunities for you to show them Christ.
>> Read how the Bubble can be used as a positive force here.
>> Ready to get involved in your local community? You can create a Meetup account.
>> Need some tips and creative ideas for sharing your faith? Check out my earlier post.
>> Looking for an inexpensive way to gift a book about Christianity to your friends? You can purchase Josh’s apologetics classic, More Than a Carpenter, in a 6-pack or more from our online store.

I’d love to know your thoughts. Share your comments below!

Matthew Tingblad is a communicator at Josh McDowell Ministry with a seminary education from Talbot School of Theology.

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