It’s that time of year again. Summer missions season, which means my inbox is full of reports from students on the mission field. We print the reports and pray for the UT missionaries every week in the Campus House of Prayer.
Every year nearly one thousand students from the University of Texas participate in mission trips during spring break or summer break. That’s 20% of the Body of Christ at UT! The flood of missionary movement at UT has two currents: from the campus to the nations and from the nations to the campus.
From the Campus to the Nations
At UT, ministries are partnering together in mission by equipping and connecting students across ministry lines to form missionary teams in their fraternities, on their sports team, in their majors, among their ethnic groups, in their clubs, etc. Last year there were more than 200 active missional communities on campus, what CRM calls Spark Groups.
Many (if not most) followers of Jesus at UT identify themselves as missionaries on campus. Thousands are living missionary lives on campus, by identifying people groups, developing community and serving their friends, and contextualizing the gospel message to their peers.
As a result, many get a heart for the nations while experiencing the joy of living as a missionary on campus, even among international students as this video testimony so wonderfully displays. Students are living as missionaries on campus which results in more students spending their summers overseas on mission.
From the Nations to the Campus
The flow of missionary activity also flows from the nations to the campus when these one thousand UT students return from their spring break and summer mission trips. At the end of the year, campus minsters at the University of Texas were spending some time together talking about the missional community movement.
We asked, “What in your ministry best opens your students’ eyes to the lost communities around them and the missionary call on their lives?” Most responded, “Our mission trips.”
There is something very powerful about the experience of being away from campus on the mission field. It’s those days and weeks overseas where students’ sole purpose is to be a “missionary” that it clicks: “I should live this way all the time.”
Knowing the joy on being a missionary overseas, students return to be even more active missionaries where God has placed them on campus.
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.