The following is an excerpt from my book Campus Renewal – A Practical Plan to Unite Campus Ministries in Prayer and Evangelism.
The Importance of an Outside Voice
One way to be sure an event is a catalytic one is to bring the right people to speak at the event. If the aim of the event is to mobilize prayer, then bring in an excellent communicator who is passionate about prayer. If you want the event to mobilize missional communities, then bring in an excellent communicator who is passionate about missional communities. As fun as it may sound to plan an event where campus ministers share the teaching and vision casting, we have found that an outside voice is received even better.
A Voice for Transformation
In 2003, we were trying to help ministers and students catch a vision for transformation. We hoped that at the end of Rez Week they would believe that God is able to radically transform UT, and we wanted them to understand some of the biblical prerequisites to revival. That year we brought in Jackson Senyonga as our guest speaker. Jackson was one of the many pastors who had been uniting in prayer and mission in Uganda. He was on the stage on December 31, 1999, when the Ugandan people held an all-night prayer and worship gathering at their soccer stadium to officially dedicate the nation of Uganda to God for the next century. Talk about an outside voice!
Something really changed in the campus ministers after he met with about 20 of us and told how he and other leaders tithe their time to the city, giving 10 percent of their workweek to ministry outside of their churches. Suddenly praying together once a week seemed rather simple, and the attendance at campus minister prayer almost doubled.
A Voice for Missional Communities
In 2007, we were focusing on calling students to mission on campus. We wanted to see the missional community movement grow. We planned to use Rez Week to challenge students to commit to leading missional communities for the following year. That spring we invited Neil Cole, author of Organic Church, and Jaeson Ma, author of The Blueprint, to come to Rez Week. God used their outside voices and incredible testimonies to inspire students to stop huddling in their Christian communities and to live on mission in a specific community on campus. Two hundred students responded to the message, and about 100 new missional communities were birthed that spring semester. Incredibly, 60 of the missional communities survived the initial wave of emotional commitments and continued into the fall. God used that Rez Week to bring the missional community movement to the forefront of our work together.
A Voice for Campus Reaching
The right voice is always important. City Reaching, the book campus ministers read together, recommended having someone from the outside to help get the conversation about city reaching started among leaders. That is why we asked Jim Herrington to meet with us. We needed someone from the outside to lead us in conversation. We needed someone without an agenda, other than to help us discover God’s purposes for us together. It was invaluable.
Campus Renewal Ministries offers our services to this end as well. When a student or minister from another campus shares our vision and gathers others to hear from CRM staff about the story of UT and other campuses where we are working, we almost always see a campus minister or student leader Fusion Group started after we leave. CRM staff is available to be that outside voice for you.
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.