On campus, what power do we really believe is going to create change in people and set them free? Is it our great proxe stations, or our winning personalities? Is it our campus strategy, or our excellent program? Or is it something else?
Gary Haugen, founder of International Justice Mission, established a daily half hour prayer meeting for his organization. Every day at 11:00 a.m. the whole office stops work, gathers in the conference room, and prays. When asked about this Gary responds, “We had to ask ourselves a question, ‘What power do we really believe is going to set people free? ’”
Paul says that the gospel is the power of God in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith.” Paul’s expectation for fruitful ministry (Romans 1:13) is not ultimately tied to his skill as a messenger, but to the message itself.
What is this message? Paul’s gospel is the announcement that Jesus the Messiah has risen from the dead and is Lord of the world (v. 1-4). As Paul is faithful to announce this gospel, he knows and expects that God will act through him to “bring about the obedience of faith…(v. 5).”
What implications does this have for us on campus?
1. Center of Hope
I love and value the work we’re doing to improve our outreach. We need to be constantly improving our strategies, plans, and programs. We can’t just dust off last year’s NSO and hope for a better result. And yet, our hope must not be centered in our activities but in the gospel of Jesus Christ. What do we really believe is going to set people free on campus? If we really believe it is the gospel, what implication would that have? What would we change?
2. Clarifying our Message
Too often I hear students sharing the gospel in ways that are unclear. If the gospel is the power of God for salvation, then we need to get crystal clear about this message. How do we learn to share this message? How do we teach and coach students so that they can share the gospel message clearly, concisely, and compellingly?
3. Call People to Faith
“Would you like to become a follower of Jesus today?” This is a powerful question that is underutilized. In Romans 1, Paul describes his ministry to call the Gentiles to the obedience of faith, and then immediately adds, “including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.” Paul does not simply communicate the gospel; he calls for a response. What would it look like if every time we shared the good news of the gosple we called people to faith?
We minister on campus through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not our programs and activities that change people’s lives, but an encounter with Jesus and the freedom that comes from his gospel.
Take time now to think and pray about your campus and how the power of the gospel can impact students in the coming semesters.
Jason is the Regional Director for the NY/NJ Region, and an Anglican Friar. He and his wife, Sophia, live in New York with their two children. You can find other thoughts from Jason at intervarsityleads.org.
The blog is an avenue for staff and student leaders to hear from the visionary leaders of Collegiate Ministries about theological formation, discipleship, chapter planting, chapter growth, and other key ministry themes for campus work.