Why the College Campus? Pt 1.
Right now, there are just over 20 million college students in the U.S. If they were their own country, they would be the 60th largest country in the world. That is 6 million more people than all of New England and only four million less than the entire continent of Australia! Many of them are making pivotal decisions that will affect the rest of their lives. What are they going to be about? What is their career going to be? Who are they going to marry? Most of them are making these decisions without Christ. They are setting the pace they are going to run for the rest of their lives without the divine mercy, grace, and wisdom that comes from a relationship with Jesus. Thousands of campuses have little or no gospel presence on them. That means that at the most pivotal time in 20 million people’s lives, they may not only not have a relationship with Jesus, but they may not even have access to the gospel!
No matter how prestigious their school is or how great their future may look, without Christ, their eternity is bleak. What would it take to see a gospel presence on every campus until there is no campus left without a multiplying gospel presence? Isn’t that a vision near to God’s heart? Isn’t that a vision that only God could bring to fruition?
Every campus with a multiplying gospel presence until there is no campus left or bust! From the large, prestigious D1 universities to the small, rural community colleges and technical schools, we believe that it is unacceptable for a college student to be able to walk his/her campus and not have access to the gospel. More than that, Jesus is worthy of the love, adoration, and worship of every student on every college and university campus. The call to labor to accelerate evangelistic momentum, multiply disciples, and plant new ministries on every college campus until there is no campus left without a multiplying gospel movement is worth it! It honors God and is worth not only our individual time, talent, and treasure, but the time, talents, and treasures of God’s people—the church.
Investing in college students and seeing God’s kingdom come on every campus is one of the most strategic things a person and the church can do. It is the best place to affect the culture, the nations, and the future generation of leaders—both secular and church.
WHY THE COLLEGE CAMPUS?
Why should Christians invest in seeing the gospel spread on university and college campuses? There are so many ministries and so many places that need the gospel. Why invest in a demographic that seems unreachable?
IT’S AN ENEMY STRONGHOLD
Matthew 16:18 “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
When I lived in the Middle East, many of our local friends lived in these extravagant villas. When we would visit them, we would have to pull up to the gate and a security guard would check us in, or we would have to use the intercom system for them to open the gate. Gates are defensive features on a property. If you want to keep someone out or screen who knocks on your front door, you put up a gate.
For the longest time, I would read the passage above like this: “I will build my church and, don’t worry, hell will not overcome it.” While I like that, it’s not how the passage reads. It is actually saying that Hell is on the defensive and the Church, marching under the leadership of Christ, is on the offensive! We are on offense! We have the ball! Satan is huddled in his stronghold holding millions of lost sheep hostage and Jesus has tasked us as the search and rescue Seal Team 6 to go in and get ’em! Yet, somehow Satan has put blinders on us and convinced us that the college campus is unreachable so he can continue to use it as a stronghold. Missionary C.T. Studd proclaimed, “Some want to live within the sound of a church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.” Instead of charging the gates of hell on the Divine Rescue Mission, we post up on the outskirts of campus and we put up gates, afraid and unsure if God could move on campus. O Church, wake up! When will our methodology match our theology? If Jesus is Lord, then he is Lord of all, or he isn’t Lord at all. God the Father created and loves every single student on the college campus. Every. Single. One. Not only does he love them, but he loves them just as much as he loves you and me! In fact, according to the parable of the Lost Sheep, if Jesus was with us, he would leave us behind and head to campus to find his lost sheep. Is it not the sick who need a doctor?
According to the American Association of Universities, in 2017, one in every five college students had suicidal thoughts. As of February 2020, 20% of college students meet the criteria laid down by the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism for having an alcohol use disorder. Last year, “About 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 reported experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.” The stats don’t lie. The campus needs the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
If we really believe, “For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through him and for him (Col. 1:16),” then that means that there isn’t a rock, a building, an institute, a tree, or a person on this planet that doesn’t have “made by Jesus” stamped on them somewhere! The college campus belongs to our Father, and he has asked us to be ambassadors to bring the Kingdom of God to its students. It’s an enemy stronghold that has to go. It’s time for the church to rise up and storm the gates!
-How would you describe your posture towards the college campus near you? As lost territory? A Samaria to be avoided at all costs? A Harvest field?
-Does your ministry look more like it is playing offense – sharing the gospel and reaching lost students – or defense – just trying to keep Christian kids from sinning?
-What is one thing your ministry can do to take the gospel to your campus?