This fall brings a new semester brimming with opportunities on your local college campus. As new students mix with returning students, the culture of a campus is infused into these new faces. Students quickly learn what it means to be a Griffon, Bearcat, Roo, Tiger, or whatever their mascot is. There are football games to be attended, social gatherings happening in and out of the dorms, late night movies, video games to be played with new friends, and of course class schedules to be mapped out all across campus.
In the midst of all this frenzy, what does it look like for a follower of Christ to be a disciple who makes disciples? What does it look like to enter the mix of a campus for the sake of Christ—to live out the Great Commission among college students?
Much has been written on this subject (and you won’t go wrong by starting with these two staple reads: The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman and The Fuel & the Flame by Steve Shadrach and Paul Worcester). In the Fuel & the Flame, Shadrach and Worcester quote a shocking statement:
Wow! Do you believe that? Surely there are valid academic reasons for being on campus as a student, but if we are not challenging students to live intentionally for Christ on their campus first and foremost, we are missing the mark.
Over the course of a few posts, I want to cast a vision for making disciples on campus and share some practical insights I’ve learned along the way.
Making Disciples of College Students Begins with the End in Mind
Jesus lays out His vision for disciplemaking all throughout his ministry, but He summarizes it well as he commissions His disciples in Matthew 28:18-20:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Jesus’s marching orders are clear: “Go, make disciples—baptizing them and teaching them to obey Me.” Before we set foot onto campus, seeking to make disciples, we must begin with the end in mind. Our commission is to make disciples who obey Jesus in every area of their lives. Surely this is a God-sized task, but we know that Jesus promises he’ll always with us. We go on campus in His name and with His power!Our commission is to make disciples who obey Jesus in every area of their lives. – @pdamery Click To Tweet
Disciplemaking on a College Campus Must Flow from the Right Heart
In addition to beginning with the end in mind, we need to step foot on campus with the right heart. We must serve the Lord out of the overflow of what He is doing in our own lives. Ministry on a college campus (or anywhere for that matter) should never feel like a job! It’s a high calling from God to be a messenger of the Gospel. So, lest we get ahead of ourselves, we must check the condition of our own hearts.
Can you say with the Apostle Paul, “For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:8)?
We must deeply care for the students among whom we live and serve. The Apostle Paul’s heart for the Philippians is profusely evident in his letter. Surely his yearning for the spiritual wellbeing of the Philippians was no surprise to them. They felt it. They knew it was true.
Pre-Semester Heart Check
As you consider all the opportunities that a new semester brings, what is the condition of your heart as a disciplemaking laborer? It is possible to get so busy planning awesome programs and events to reach students that we neglect the actual mission given to us by Christ—making obedient disciples. And even if we get that right in the midst of all our tactics and strategies, it’s very easy to neglect the condition of our own hearts.
Before the semester gets really busy, make some plans for how you will spend time in prayer and the Word in the midst of your crazy schedule. Plan to get up early, read through a daily Bible reading plan, and pray for the Lord’s work in your own heart. As you do this, you’ll see the Lord form and shape your own heart into the heart of a disciplemaker who can truly serve others out of the overflow of what God is doing in your own life.