After much prayer a dedicated, Jesus-loving family decided to move overseas to become missionaries with the hopes of sharing the gospel with any and all in this foreign land. They moved to their new community, invested in new furniture and prepared their living room for the folk they planned to be there. Missionary-man rented space in an office for dedicated times of prayer and study of the Word. While mom home-schooled the children, dad commuted to the office where he studied evangelism and met with the three or four young missionaries he was brought in to train. The office space was conveniently located near the city center where thousands would gather daily to eat lunch in the city-park.
Though their house was open for dinner every Tuesday and Thursday evenings, the three or four younger missionaries were the only ones to show up. Months passed. The missionaries grew close to one another and really began to understand the theological basis for evangelism and discipleship. Most Thursdays their prayer time was interrupted by the loud noises coming from the kids and families at the nearby “park nights” sponsored by the government.
The Obvious Questions:
Why didn’t the missionaries eat lunch with the people gathered near the office?
Why didn’t the missionaries participate in the park-nights?
Why did they call themselves missionaries?
The Unfortunate Reality:
The above story looks/feels too much like what may be happening in the youth ministry realm. Many Youth Pastors/Leaders (and churches, to be quite honest) have gotten away from the most obvious mission field that is in our own backyard–The campus!
I published a post a couple weeks ago about the areas of ministry I believe many in student ministries have gotten away from. Just a few days later I flew to Kansas City to attend a Campus Alliance gathering of about 45 Youth Ministry leaders (presidents of youth ministry orgs/denominations) to tackle the subject of reaching the 67,000+ U.S. campuses (middle school/high school) with the gospel. This was a rich time of prayer, partnership and planning.
It will be worth nothing if we don’t do anything about it!
Part of the Solution, Not Just Naming the Problem:
Many have rallied around the books and movements that name and blame the church (and youth ministries) for our shortcomings/problems, but rather than just naming them, I want to see us take action to change the blame-game and get back on the actual field! This is what I am committed to. This is what Youthmark is committed to. Are you (and your ministry) going to commit yourself to sharing the ONE hope we have?
I am committing Youthmark to this alliance with other ministries who are committed to reaching the campuses of America with the good news of Jesus. We are committed to not just “living” it, but loving the people on these campuses enough to share (with Word and actions) about Jesus and his plan of redemption.
Politics can help us with some temporary changes in law and standards. Government may help the homeless for a short time. Humanitarian aid may give short-time sustainability to thousands in need after a disaster… but Christians should give long term, even eternal relief through the gospel. The gospel lived out brings physical, emotional and spiritual solution.
Youthmark is committed to what we call Mission51. Though we are short term mission sending organization, our heart beat is for training for the 51 weeks beyond the one-week venture. Where is Mission51?
Campus. Club. Community. Church.
Youth Leaders and organizations, the mission field is the campus! It is in our back yard. There are over 67,000+ of these centers around the country and you are the shepherd for those who can and should be the best missionaries in the United States! We should gather, we should train and we better release our missionaries (students) to this HUGE mission field. But they need to know they aren’t going alone! May they go with prayer, may they go prepared and may they go partnered!
I am honored to be a partner with Campus Alliance!