“As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” John 20:21.
Jesus was sent into the world by God the Father to rescue and redeem sinful humanity. That was His mission. And now he includes his disciples (us) in bringing about the completion of that mission.
We are sent by Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit to be his witnesses and ambassadors in the world in an effort to make disciples of all nations (see Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 1:8).
But here’s where the disconnect happens for many believers. They know they are supposed to be on mission, they just aren’t sure how to be on mission.
With students everywhere headed back to school, I want to offer some thoughts on what it looks like to be missional on campus.
1. Contend for the Truth.
US college campuses are marketplaces of ideas. Unfortunately, in the majority of these schools, those ideas are at odds with a Christian worldview. As Christians we are called to contend for the truth:
Jude 1:3 “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”
The ways to contend for the truth are varied on a campus. There may be a place to challenge the ideas of a professor in the classroom setting, but it needs to be done respectfully, intelligently, and tactfully. Smaller group settings provide a great opportunity as well, whether that happens to be a study group, a group project, or your group of friends. Probably the most obvious way to contend for the truth is by challenging ideas through your coursework, like term papers, presentations and other projects.
2. Be Submissive to Authority.
The Bible calls us as Christians to be submissive to every type of authority in our lives.
1 Peter 2:13 “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution…”
This should certainly carry over to the faculty of your school. It’s easy to fall into the trap of being disrespectful and gossiping about a professor you don’t like or agree with. That’s not ok. It’s also not ok to oppose your professor in class in a rude and disrespectful way. Instead, demonstrate through your attitude and actions that you submit to and respect their authority. In doing so, you’ll earn their respect and possibly the opportunity to witness to them.
Often times, you have to win a heart before you can earn a hearing.
3. Walk Worthy of Your Calling.
Don’t live a life that contradicts the gospel. When you live a compromised life, it sucks the power out of the gospel.
It would be like if you were a car salesman trying to sell a Ford while driving a Chevy.
You could tell them until you’re blue in the face that Fords are the best. But all that goes out the window the moment they see you drive off in your brand new Chevy. They’re not convinced. In a similar way, as we’re telling people about the better life available to them in Christ but living in a way that contradicts that life, they won’t be convinced.
Walk worthy of your calling. Your speech and actions should live up to your calling as a Christian.
4. Have an Exceptional Work Ethic.
Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”
You shouldn’t be perceived as the lazy, disinterested student. You should work the hardest to get a good grade. Don’t be the lazy member of a group project. Don’t show up to class late. Don’t skip classes for no reason. Don’t flake on your homework.
Regardless of how smart you are, your work ethic should be exceptional.
5. Be Friends (a real friend) to Non-Believers.
Now this is a bit of a tricky one. But it’s important.
First let me say, if you are young in your faith, still trying to get established, don’t become super close friends with a non-believer (especially if they live the same sort of lifestyle you’re trying to overcome).
Now, with that being said, let me say this. Generally speaking, Christians should have some non-Christian friends.
Interestingly, Jesus was called “a friend of sinners” (Matthew 11:19).
You can’t reach them if you don’t know them.
Non-believers aren’t projects, they’re people. If you find that you have similar interests or hobbies – great. Befriend them. Pursue those interests or hobbies with them. Hang out with them. Eat meals with them. Love them and care for them whether they ever become a Christian or not.
6. Be Passionately Committed to the Local Church.
Christianity isn’t supposed to be lived out in isolation. So, if you are going to be missional on your campus, you need the love, support and encouragement of the local church. Also, if God uses you to lead someone to Christ, you need to connect them to a healthy local church…ie your healthy local church.
7. Be Connected with Other Believers on Campus.
This is where a Christian Club or campus ministry can come in. They are so important because they provide a place where like-minded believers come together to pray for the campus, strategize about how to effectively minister to the campus, and then actually carry out projects and objectives to love, serve and share with your school.
8. Care About the Campus Community.
Get involved with beneficial things that are happening on your campus. It’s one thing to say that we love our school and the people in it; it’s another to demonstrate that through the investment of our time and talents.
Participate in projects that better your school, community, or humanity as a whole. These could be community service projects, cancer walks, projects to eradicate poverty or homelessness, aids research, etc. etc. etc. These are all good things, and our commitment to them is a tangible way to show our love and concern for others.
9. Tell People the Good News About Jesus.
I saved this for last because it’s the most obvious and also the most important. As important as everything else is, you could do all 8 of the other things and not change a single person’s eternal destiny.
Romans 1:16 “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…”
Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
At some point, if we are really going to be missional on our campuses we have to be a gospel preaching people.
God has strategically placed you at your campus for this season of your life. “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” Ephesians 5:15-16.Pastor Daniel