(From Campus Church Networks and Student Church Movements)
Campus Church Call
A Call to Every Campus in America
A new student movement is being birthed on college campuses of America that could bless every nation on earth. There is more prayer for spiritual awakening, revival, and reformation than anytime in America’s history. In response to what we believe God is doing, we are, in faith, calling for simple churches to be birthed among non-Christian communities on every university in the United States over the next five years.
What is a “simple church”?
They are sometimes called “Organic churches, missional communities, intentional gatherings, or Jesus communities.” Simple church is church reduced to it’s most basic biblical ingredients: “a few people building community, obeying Jesus, studying his word, and gathering where they can as they grow in their love for Jesus and their desire to tell others about Him.”
We believe simple churches are an effective way for individual Christian students, campus ministries, and churches to reproduce themselves by planting seeds of the gospel into non-Christian communities on a campus. We don’t desire to spend another minute arguing one way or another about the validity of simple churches vs. local, congregational churches. The whole world is waiting to see Christian communities live out the gospel, whether they are composed of 7 people or 700. The need on college campuses is so great, it is time to call “all hands on deck” to launch a fresh initiative to foster communities of faith that develop from evangelism on the 2,600+ campuses all over America. What’s essential in these simple churches is that the gospel is being preached, new disciples are being made among non-Christians, and new Jesus-focused communities are nurtured in the areas where students do life together.
It’s not about campuses, it’s about the nations.
We believe God is passionately reminding us of his love for all nations. We cannot neglect this college “mission field” at our backdoor any longer, content to run the bulk of our ministry activity in a way that caters mostly to American, once-churched students. Every year, hundreds of thousands of international students from almost every nation on earth come to America to study.
I’ll never forget the experience of a student church planter this year telling me repeatedly of his encounters with international students who had never heard the gospel. One student he met HAD NEVER HEARD THE NAME “JESUS” BEFORE. It is time to shift our focus off of how to increase attendance at ministry events and reprioritize our activities for how to reach those who have never heard the gospel and are most unlikely to ever come to our ministry events. Maybe invite them later. Let’s reach them and all their friends first.
Simple churches offer an effective way to start new, culturally-sensitive Jesus communities among non-Christian students in the areas where they do life. When international students learn to follow Jesus in interdependent relationships with others in a simple church, they learn a model for church planting that is reproducible in their home country. In nations that restrict Christianity, rather than going home disappointed that there are no churches like there were in America, they will understand church communities as something anyone can start. It is a joy to watch the eyes of students as they read the Bible and hear Jesus’ stories for the first time, excitedly asking each other, “How can we apply this to our lives?”
We are calling for Christian students to focus a specific amount of time each week on intentionally loving and reaching non-Christian communities on campus with the gospel. This might be as simple as finding a group of non-Christians and hanging out with them. Study together. Have conversations about how Jesus has changed your life. Play basketball. Have BBQ’s. Play music. Host a dinner at your house and invite people to eat and discuss a Jesus story together. See what happens from there. At several simple churches students have started this year, it is common for non-Christians to actively participate in prayer and worship and applying scripture to their lives BEFORE THEY EVEN COME TO FAITH IN CHRIST. These simple churches form a template these students can use after college to make disciples in every sector of society, in any culture, in any people group on earth.
Simple churches are student-led communities that sometimes – though not always –grow to eventually practice what we see as the basic, essential functions of church: evangelism, discipleship, worship, fellowship, community, giving, and prayer. They are free to practice all the commands of Jesus, from giving to baptizing other students.
We honor the “Annas and Simeon’s” – the older generation — who has prayed for the next generation of leaders. We ask for your prayers and blessing for this next generation of student missionaries.
We honor the spiritual fathers and mothers who have stewarded the faith and have brought us to this unique hour in history. We are appealing to spiritual fathers and mothers, pastors, and ministry leaders to spiritually parent student churches to help reach every campus and nation on earth with the gospel. We are asking for the generational transfer, wisdom, and blessing of older leaders.
We are appealing to pastors, youth leaders, and campus ministries to intentionally pray and send out student missionaries to preach the gospel and make disciples on the college campus by starting new simple church communities. These new simple church communities can benefit from being networked with your sending community. They can grow from your blessing, leadership, love, and mentoring as they pioneer to see the gospel spread among non-Christians and international students.
We are challenging Christian teenagers across America to prepare now to go to college as four-year student missionaries to secular college campuses. This is a risk. Spreading the gospel to new areas almost always is. You have the extraordinary opportunity to go to college in order to reach the nations. It will not be enough to plan for how to survive and preserve your faith. We’re challenging you to go as a student missionary into an often difficult mission field, set on reaching non-Christians and international students with the message of Jesus on your college campus.
What do I do?
Pray and tell the Lord that you are willing to either:
1) Go as a student missionary to your campus
2) Mobilize and mentor student simple church planters in your area.
Student Church Movements
Campus Church Networks