The following is an excerpt from my book Campus Renewal – A Practical Plan to Unite Campus Ministries in Prayer and Evangelism.
When Leaders Call the Body To Unite
Throughout scripture there are many times when God called His people together for a specific purpose. Consider Elijah, in I Kings 18, when he called all Israel and the prophets of Baal together for a showdown on Mount Carmel. I would call that a catalytic event! At the end of the day, everyone “fell prostrate and cried, ‘The Lord — He is God! The Lord — He is God!’” (I Kings 18:39). Consider Samuel when he said, “‘Assemble all Israel at Mizpah and I will intercede with the Lord for you’” (I Samuel 7:5). Everyone gathered, and it turned into a time of united fasting and repentance. God heard their prayers and turned back the Philistines, who were attacking them. In Nehemiah 9, all of Israel gathered for a time of worship and repentance. They read the law for a quarter of the day and then spent another quarter of the day in worship and confession. At the end of the day they wrote a covenant of purity to the Lord, and all of the spiritual leaders sealed the covenant together. Paul, in Acts 19, had an old-fashioned revival where people came forward to throw their idolatrous possessions into a fire. Everything that was burned totaled 50,000 days’ wages! These stories, and many more, are examples of additional catalytic events — events planned by leaders in response to a specific situation facing them.
God Speaks To Leaders As They Pray
As leaders on campus begin to pray together, to spiritually map the campus, and to mobilize missional communities, God will lead them to many different catalytic events that will help advance their long-term, strategic initiatives. There will be seasons when they know they are called to unite the Body of Christ for a specific purpose. When they do, they will be echoing the voice of Joel when he said, “Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. Let the priests, who minister before the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar. Let them say, ‘Spare your people, O Lord. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’’” (Joel 2:15–17). There are times when the whole Body of Christ on campus needs to gather for a time of repentance, a time of vision casting, a time of teaching, or an evangelistic outreach. It’s biblical to do so.
An Example From The University of Texas
There was a time when we as ministers believed in the campus- reaching vision, but we were not sure our students were catching the full vision. We started talking about the idea of doing some united vision casting for a season. We felt like God was in it, so we moved forward, planning a campaign we called “The CAUSE.” For five weeks, 16 ministries committed to teach on the CAUSE topics (Character, Asking (prayer), Unity, Service, Evangelism). We created some great videos that introduced the topic for the week and communicated that this was a campuswide message. Our only commitment was to use the videos and teach on the specific topic. Each ministry could use any scripture to teach the topic. It ended up that many of the 16 ministries did “pulpit swaps” during the five weeks, which really helped communicate that this was a campus-wide vision. Imagine if you could identify some problem through spiritual mapping and all agree to teach on the topic for weeks at a time. Talk about a united voice!
Justin Christopher is the director of Campus Renewal Ministries at the University of Texas and author of Campus Renewal: A Practical Plan for Uniting Campus Ministries in Prayer and Mission. He gives leadership to the Campus House of Prayer and the misssonal community movement at the University of Texas.