The following is an excerpt from my book Campus Renewal – A Practical Plan to Unite Campus Ministries in Prayer and Evangelism.
On Our Way to Revival?
I will be the first to say that we’re not there yet. We’ve yet to experience the revival we’ve been praying about for these many years. We also have not been able to reach every people group at UT with the gospel. All I can say is that we are on our way.
Leaders in the Body of Christ at UT pray together weekly and have humble, life-giving relationships with one another. We share a common vision to mobilize students in united prayer and mission so that we reach every unbelieving community on campus with the gospel and experience a historic revival.
We have a more complete picture of what God is doing on campus and what role each of our individual ministries plays in the whole vision for transformation. Campus ministry leaders meet twice a semester for several hours to communicate and recalibrate our efforts. We are, indeed, working as one Body of Christ.
We feel like God has taken us to a new place, giving us a whole new way of doing ministry at the University of Texas. We believe we’re in step with the Holy Spirit, and it is only a matter of time until we see the breakthrough. More important, we feel we’re being faithful to our God as we humble ourselves before one another, working as one Body to reach the whole campus.
We’re seeing God do the intangible things in us that He clearly requires before He brings revival, namely humility, hunger, prayer, and repentance. Jackson Senyonga once told us, “Humility is God’s revelation of your need for one another.” If that is God’s definition, then we have grown to be quite a humble movement here at UT. New ministers come to UT and are amazed at the way we love and respect one another and continue to work together because we’re convinced that we need each other.
As for hunger, it’s obvious that God has given us a holy discontentment with things as they are. No one is satisfied with the thought of just shepherding the flock of students that comes to us. No one is trying to get the best worship leader or teacher so their ministry is the largest, taking students away from the other ministries. Instead, we want revival. We have a desire for God to do something at UT for which no one can take credit.
It’s amazing that we have the Campus House of Prayer now. Prayer is not for the gifted or extra-spiritual students UT. Everyone is praying all over campus and 100 or more hours a week in the Campus House of Prayer. Students and campus ministers unite in prayer once a week and bring their ministries together in united prayer at least once a semester. We’re praying like never before, and prayer always precedes revival.
As for repentance, we’re on our way. Our spiritual map reveals to us ways we need to lead the Body of Christ in repentance. We base events around needs for repentance, and our prayers are often filled with identificational repentance. Ministry leaders are even in accountability relationships with one another so that we can hold each other accountable as leaders of this movement.
Seeds of Revival
Our surveys indicate that God is already moving in significant ways. Here is a simple look at the three statistics we believe are most important. In 2002, 5.5 percent of UT students were involved in our campus ministries. In 2010, more than 9.9 percent are involved in our campus ministries. The Body of Christ at UT has almost doubled! From 2001 to 2005 we saw an average of 322 students put their faith in Jesus each year. From 2006 to 2010 an average of 494 students put their faith in Jesus each year.
We’re not just growing by transfer growth or incoming freshmen growth. The number of missional communities in 2003 was 20. Now, in 2010, there are more than 220 missional communities. That means UT (which has an estimated 500 people groups) is nearly 50 percent reached, having a Christian community imbedded within half of the campus!
Perhaps it’s not something Dan Hayes or J. Edwin Orr would write about just yet. It is, however, something rarely seen in campus ministry. It is, in our opinion, a new way forward. It is a new way of doing campus ministry. Many campus pastors already recognize the need for a new way forward. They just don’t know how to get there. We hope that our story can pave a way, much like the ministry philosophy set forth in City Reaching paved the way for us.
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.