When I gave my life to Jesus in the spring semester of my freshman year, it was a no-brainer to keep partying at my fraternity…but in a redeemed way. Besides my high-energy personality, I felt I still needed to be at parties because Jesus had chosen me to do so. After all, I first met Jesus at a frat party myself.
The party scene is an often overlooked or seemingly impossible place to reach people on college campuses. But, as Christians, we are called to reach the partiers. For some, it is a perfectly acceptable choice not to party, especially for anyone who’s wrestled with addictions. For a lot of us, I think we should prayerfully evaluate if we should be reaching out to this part of campus in a responsible, Christ-honoring way.
Here’s why: Many partiers are never going to walk into your Bible study or church. We need to help bring Jesus to them. God and my InterVarsity staff worker helped me realize that, if not me, who would reach out to the men in my fraternity?
So, with a new motivation behind why I partied, here are four ways I learned to party with Jesus:
1. Ask God to Prepare You
During my first year of walking with Jesus, my fraternity brother Joel and I prayed together before attending parties. I knew what took place at parties, and now that I was a Christian, I knew I needed the Lord to be there with me. For instance, I had determined not to hook up with girls anymore…but the girls didn’t know that, so the temptation was still there. And, I didn’t know I would be verbally harassed by my frat brothers (some who were Christians) who could not believe a Christian could attend a party without jumping into the whole scene. If I’d walked into those parties trying to resist temtpation on my own strength, it would have been a recipe for disaster.
2. Bring a Christian Friend for Accountability
Joel was always there for me at parties, so I could ask him for advice or prayer when things got tough. Having him there was extra motivation to avoid making decisions that would cause me to sin. Make sure you go to parties with another Christian or two for your own sake, but also be there for your brother or sister in Christ.
3. Show Integrity
People inevitably put more of a spotlight on me because they wanted to see if I had truly been changed by Jesus. For the first year or so, friends at parties would watch to see if I really wouldn’t hook up or get drunk. I knew that the moment I engaged in sin would be the moment I discredited myself as a witness.
In addition to keeping my integrity, I found it important not to make other people feel awkward or judged. Just because I was letting people know I wasn’t going to drink until I was 21 and even then not in excess, didn’t mean it was okay for me to get preachy. It also didn’t mean I now spent parties quietly and oddly in a corner.
Knowing they were watching, I let them see that I was still having a good time, but my joy was from the Lord and not from the alcohol.
It wasn’t until I graduated that I found out this made a difference. At my fraternity's goodbye ceremony, multiple guys said that I was someone who took his faith seriously and never tried to throw it in their faces. One guy even said that "since graduating from high school three years ago, I never even thought about my faith, but you being the house and hosting Greek InterVarsity events here has sparked something in me to realize that my faith is important."
4. Follow up on Conversations
One thing I wish I would have done better as a student was following up on times when people asked questions about Jesus at a party.
People are often unfiltered while they are drunk, which can be bad and good. It was a good thing when they were open and vulnerable to deep conversations with me, and I took that chance to talk with them about spiritual things, to answer their questions. I was too timid, however, to approach the subject again when they were sober. Even though I was more comfortable talking about Jesus when they were drunk, Jesus still wanted to work in their lives.
Try to reignite spirituals conversations soon after they come up at a party. You can ask a simple question like “Hey, do you remember that conversation last night?” or a statement like “I really appreciated that conversation we had at the party.” Be sure to bring it up in a private setting so they feel more comfortable. Follow up is one of the most important moments after a spiritual conversation; you may find it helps you invite them to do a GIG , share the gospel and ask them to take a next step toward Jesus, or simply improve your friendship.
I see more now than I did then that God wanted to change me as well. Jesus took me out of the darkness of partying, and showed me how to be a light there instead, and grow in my ability to love those far from Jesus.
What are some tips you’ve used to be a witness at parties? Please share them in a comment below.