I remember hearing about the birth of a new movement of God’s Spirit when I was a student.
In 1980, four college students at Penn State University were motivated by a vision to see others come to know Christ and that followers of Jesus would actually win the world for their Master, so they decided to prove a point.
If they could minister for a year in Libya, at the time the most militant Muslim country, they would demonstrate that no country or place on earth was closed to the Gospel of Jesus. They intended to return with a call for others to join them in seeing “the evangelization of the world in their generation,” beginning in the most difficult and uninviting places and situations.
Read Matthew 28:18-20.
Twenty-four other college students committed to support the four pioneers with prayer and encouragement. Everyone involved signed a pledge to give their lives over to making disciples of all nations, “whenever and however God leads, giving priority to the peoples currently beyond the reach of the Gospel.” This pledge later became known as the Caleb Declaration.
The least evangelized peoples of the world have lived in an area between the 10th and 40th latitudes, stretching between North Africa east through Asia. This region is often called the 10/40 window. It represents the vast majority of the world’s unreached people groups, with billions who practice Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and a variety of animistic religions. This region also represents an area with fewer Christian cross-cultural workers.
After a year in Libya, the four Penn State college students returned alive and well to challenge their peers to worldwide involvement. They said their model was Caleb of the Old Testament, who returned from the promised land reconnaissance (with Joshua) to challenge his fellow Israelites to “by all means go up and take possession of the land…the Lord is with us” (Numbers 13:30, 14:9). Sadly, Caleb and Joshua were the only ones of the 12 spies sent by Moses to return with such a report. The others brought back a negative response to the challenge they saw.
For a long time, the Caleb Project has inspired a shared vision to challenge a “new generation to enter a new land.” From that initial project, scores of innovative ministries have been developed to challenge Christians to by all means make the gospel available to all peoples everywhere.
I appeal to the students and staff of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries. Are the promises of God still as trustworthy today as back in the days of Caleb…and the students at Penn State in 1980? Are we as confidant of the Lord’s presence and victory for the ones He loves on our campuses? How strategic are we working to share the Gospel with undergraduates, graduates, faculty and foreign students (the four main people groups on campus)? Knowing students from 10/40 window countries are studying here in America, how diligent are we working to connect with, befriend them, and find ways to communicate who Jesus is to them? How effective are we in getting local churches and other Christians to join the movement with us? How are our alumni being enabled to use their employment opportunities to serve and extend God’s Kingdom globally?
Serve globally. Let’s mobilize Christians to complete the Great Commission in our generation.
Love is a verb,
©2013 by Mike Olejarz