The following is an excerpt from my book Campus Renewal – A Practical Plan to Unite Campus Ministries in Prayer and Evangelism.
A number of years ago I had the privilege of sharing a meal with Jackson Senyonga, a man featured in the Sentinel Group’s Transformations II video that documents the amazing transformation taking place in Uganda. Jackson was one of the many pastors who spent years in prayer and partnership to see Kampala transformed by the gospel of Jesus. He had experienced revival firsthand.
I asked him, “When did you know transformation had come to Uganda?” His answer confused me. He said, “After I watched the Transformations II video.” I laughed and said, “How can that be? They came to shoot the documentary because they knew your country was being transformed.” He replied, “I guess when you’re in the middle of it, it does not seem as amazing, because you’re still praying and seeking God for more. It was such a long process over so many years that we really had to stop and look back to see how far God had taken us.”
I found his comments profound and encouraging as I thought about my many years seeking God for transformation at the University of Texas. When would we know that revival had come? Maybe we were in the midst of it already.
I would certainly not claim that we are experiencing transformation at UT. If the folks from the Sentinel Group came to film a documentary of our work at UT, I’d suggest they wait until transformation has really come. That said, every time I tell the story of what God is doing at UT, people are amazed and want to know more: students and pastors are praying together every week, students are uniting to pray for revival 15 to 20 hours a day in a Campus House of Prayer, and several times a year many ministries cancel their normal activities to join together in worship and outreach.
Formerly competitive ministries are now treating UT like one mission field by attempting to connect their students across ministry lines to be missionaries in fraternities, sororities, sports teams, clubs, ethnic student associations, dorms, cooperative living houses, and classrooms. People are excited about the obvious changes on our campus.
In 2004, 5.5 percent of UT students were involved in our campus ministries, but now in 2010, 9.9 percent are involved in campus ministry. When I tell people that from 2001 to 2005 an average of 322 students a year put their faith in Jesus, but from 2006 to 2010 an average of 494 students become followers of Christ each year, people ask me how that is possible.
Over the last few years, after hearing more about our story, many people have responded, “You should write a book about that.” Our story seems to be an encouragement to everyone who hears it, helping people think about a new way to approach reaching campuses with the gospel. Writing a book to tell our story seems like the best way to share what God has done at the University of Texas.