How important do you think college ministry is?
I have served in college ministry since 1982. I believe reaching college students with the Person and message of Jesus is a critical endeavor worthy of the Church’s best efforts. Why? Jesus said to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). What better place to fulfill His Great Commission that the modern college and university campus? Here are three stories that will inform and inspire you to recognize the need and value of reaching tomorrow’s leaders today.
One. At the beginning of the 18thcentury, Nick was a college student at the University of Halle in Germany. He was a passionate follower of Jesus and he came to wield great influence with students. Nick went on to found a church called the Moravian Church, which sent out more missionaries in twenty years than all of the Protestant churches of Europe had in the previous two hundred. They initiated an around-the-clock prayer meeting for world missions that lasted for one hundred years without interruption. Nick’s slogan was: “I have one passion, and it is He, only He.” Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf was used by God to accomplish His purposes, and the origins of the Moravian movement are traced back to Nick’s days as a college student.
Two. In 1726, John was a college student at Oxford University in England. He was an apprentice of Jesus and John formed a group called the “Holy club” to study the Bible each week and reach out to the poor. They made a covenant to live their lives according to a strict set of rules (i.e., Bible study and memorization, prayer, holiness, personal evangelism, transparency, accountability, and care of the poor), carefully ordering their lives to give them maximum opportunities to serve and honor God. They were so disciplined that other students mocked their methodical lifestyles by calling them “Methodists.” Later, John and his brother Charles, along with fellow Holy club member George Whitfield, were instrumental in spreading the gospel to America, contributing to the First Great Awakening in American history. John Wesley was used by God to accomplish His purposes, and the origins of the Methodist revival and discipleship movement are traced back to John’s days as a college student. John was one of the first who made disciples who made disciples who made disciples in the modern era of missions. To put it in a Chi Alpha Discipleship by Design context, George Whitfield was gifted by God as a super-evangelist, while John Wesley was the faithful discipler.
Three. On a hot and humid Saturday afternoon in August 1806, Samuel (a freshman at Williams College in northwest Williamstown, MA) and four other students gathered in a maple grove of Sloan’s Meadow along the Hoosack River for a twice-a-week prayer meeting. A heavy rain suddenly drove the students into a nearby haystack, where Samuel shared his growing passion that the message of Jesus be taken all around the world. While they prayed, God showed up. Their prayer meeting and deliberate follow-up efforts resulted in the emergence of the first missionary movement outside of America. Every subsequent mission movement in North America (including the birth of Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship) can trace its roots to the Haystack Prayer meeting of 1806. Their motto became: “We can do it if we will.” Samuel J. Mills was used by God to accomplish His purposes, and the origins of the early 19thcentury global mission movement are traced back to Samuel’s days as a college student.
Serve globally. Nick, John, and Samuel were college students at one time. What can happen on a campus when Jesus gets a hold of a student? Local transformation leads to global impact.
Love is a verb,
©2019 by Mike Olejarz