Now that you know my vision from the clouds for ministry, I want to explain a little bit about why we are carrying this out in the university context via college ministry. One word that comes to mind when explaining this is opportunity. If the overall aim is laborers being multiplied into the nations, the brief and unique opportunities of the college campus environment make it highly strategic in accomplishing that aim. Let me explain some opportunities and end by giving you some real life examples.
The Opportunity in College Ministry
- Quite simply, the populations are dense. Major state schools have 20,000 – 30,000 on average! Big cities have many campuses in a small radius with millions of students among them. The more people, the more chances for God to work.
- And the populations are dense with like minded 18-24 year olds. By being students, they all have a lot in common and are living in close proximity to each other. Basically, the campus environment is a relational hotbed. And the gospel is most effectively seen and communicated in relationships.
- The typical 4 years of college are extremely pivotal years that can drastically affect and change one’s future. Important decisions are made. Students are developing convictions. They are now truly living the life they want to live and are considering all sorts of things. What a great chance to consider the gospel and the impact it could have?
- The nations come to American college campuses. Literally, countries from all over the world send their best and most influential students to come to the U.S. and study for 1-2 years. Trista and I have developed many relationships with students who were here and are now back in their home country. Are you kidding me? What an amazing opportunity to share the gospel and equip an international student as a disciple only to send him back to his country to make more disciples! Incredible.
- Students leave the campus to go all over the country and the world. A job out of college could take you anywhere. You never know where one life that has been impacted will go and take the gospel and their testimony of God’s grace.
- Because these are students at universities, statistically they are in the top 1% of the world and are influencers with great privilege. To do ministry here is to be around the futures brightest minds.
That is just six examples, there are probably many more. I hope you get the picture and can see the strategy of doing ministry in this brief window and season of life that nearly everyone goes through. More than feeling called to college ministry, which I feel I am, I also see the opportunity of it and the potential for students to change the world and impact one life at a time. Because of this I am totally sold on ministering to this season of life.
Historically young college aged students have sparked huge worldwide change. Here are a few examples that are living testimonies to the opportunities available in college ministry we just discussed above.
- Nadeel Quereshi you may know as someone who travels with Ravi Zacharias doing apologetic talks. Long before that he was born in the U.S. but grew up deeply rooted in the Muslim faith (parents are from Pakistan). While studying at Old Dominion University, he got to know a classmate that represented Christianity very well. His life was changed and he became a follower of Jesus. Read his powerful testimony and hear him describe this more.
- The Haystack Prayer Meeting was held in Massachusetts in 1806 by 5 college students concerned about the gospel in Asia. This is looked back as a turning point in Protestant missions. The ripple effects and influence these students went on to generate is pretty incredible!
It is obvious to see not only the opportunities of college ministry but also the huge impact some college students have had on history. And yet one could argue, at no other point in history is this season of life more wasted on self and “fun”. Twenty somethings are delaying adulthood to their 30’s and using their 20’s to “live it up” on themselves. This makes me even more passionate and sold on the value and opportunity of ministering to this age group. It is needed now more than ever!