Emma Hide talks to a 17-year old Christian student about a day at his local Sixth-Form College
Meet Callum: a 17-year-old born again Christian, living in Shropshire, West Midlands. Currently studying for his A-Levels, Callum loves drumming, table-tennis and football. After an exciting half-term break, Callum tells me about his first day back at college: the joys, the challenges and the answered prayers!
10:00 - Today Callum has the luxury of sleeping in, with his first lesson being at 11am. After catching up on sleep from a busy weekend, he gets ready quickly.
10:40 - Worship music blasting through his headphones (Phil Wickham is one of his faves), Callum takes the 15-minute walk to college, singing along and praying for opportunities to engage in conversations and share the gospel.
11:00 - In a gripping History class students are eased back in (not!) with the Nuremberg Trials: a series of trials following World War Two which resulted in ten Nazis being hung on gallows, and others arrested, for war atrocities.
Callum found himself deeply challenged. While his peers seemed unshaken about the verdict of the trials, Callum grappled with a profound question: where does forgiveness fit into such a horrific chapter of humanity? He pondered the biblical mandate to forgive everyone, even those who commit unimaginable crimes. Contemplating the trials, Callum questioned whether he could extend forgiveness to the soldiers responsible for the war crimes, especially if his own family had been the victims.
Ultimately, Callum concluded that he couldn’t definitively answer this question without facing such a harrowing situation himself. However, amidst his contemplation, he felt God nudge him to consider areas of unforgiveness in his own life.
12:00 - Following the intense reflections in History class, Callum is delighted to join his friends for a lunchtime escapade to KFC. Amidst the laughter and comradery, a familiar scenario unfolds. Callum’s friend, a budding philosopher, asks him a thought-provoking question: “What is the role of women in the church?” Oof.
Previously, situations like these would have set Callum’s nerves on edge - especially being the only Christian in his friendship group - but now Callum welcomes the opportunity to share his opinion with trusted friends. With a silent prayer for guidance, Callum fearlessly delves into his beliefs, referencing verses from his trusted Bible that he carries with him everywhere! In a college where conversations often swirl around sex, drugs, and parties, Callum sees these moments as a chance to illuminate God’s truth and love.
After lunch, Callum realises that this was an answer to prayer! He was able to reconnect with friends after feeling a distance at the end of last term, and simultaneously have a meaningful conversation. Praise God for friends, the chance to share God’s love in unexpected places, and fried chicken!
14:00 - In psychology Callum is hit with another challenging topic: sex and gender. The teacher explains the psychological understanding of sex (predetermined by biological features e.g. chromosomes and genitalia) and gender (determined by social and psychological traits). Upon hearing this Callum feels internally challenged.
Throughout his college journey, Callum has navigated numerous conversations with friends about gender identity and sexual orientation, some of whom identify as LGBTQ+. While this topic used to fill him with trepidation, Callum now stands tall and confident, ready to tackle this complex subject with love.
Callum firmly believes that his purpose is to point people toward Jesus by exemplifying love and speaking the truth when asked for his opinion. He strives to challenge the misconceptions that Christians are against anyone who doesn’t conform to heterosexual norms. Callum thanks God for all his friends, and the opportunities he’s given both to learn and to share God’s love.
15:00 - Time for table tennis! Callum seizes the chance to engage in friendly rivalry with his mates, guided by the seasoned expertise of his teacher, a former competitive player.
16:30 - After getting home from school Callum unwinds from the day with an epic drumming session!
18:00 - He spends some time chilling, eating dinner, and catching up and praying with a Christian friend over the phone. Connection with other Christians is super encouraging to Callum, as it can be challenging at college being the only Christian.
22:00 - Callum finishes the day by reading some bible and praying, before going to bed - ready to do it all over again tomorrow!
Thank you to Callum for sharing your story: your boldness is an encouragement to us all! Your story emphasises the importance of equipping our young people with the tools they need to navigate the intricate landscapes of modern society. In a world that often veers away from Christian truths and values, Callum’s resilience reminds each of us that we can share God’s love and truth, in whatever situations we find ourselves.