Last week I met with the two students that lead the missional community to the Arabic Department at UT. One of the students, Eric Rogers, was actually led to Christ by the former leader of this missional community, Scott Tipton, who is a fellow blogger on this site.
It was fun to finally meet Eric, because I had prayed for him many times during the period Scott was sharing the gospel with him. As he shared his spiritual story with me, I was struck by three simple things that made all of the difference in his life. These three things can be practiced by any student as they attempt to live on mission in the classroom.
Help In The Classroom
Scott and Eric met during an intensive summer program in the Arabic Department. They had class eight hours a day for several months and the classroom environment was very competitive. Eric was falling behind in the class and feeling extremely stressed. Scott noticed Eric, and asked him if he needed help studying.
That was it. While the rest of the class was busy and trying to out perform others, Scott simply asked if he could help. Eric was blown away by Scott’s willingness to help and by the fact that he was not concerned about being better than everyone else in the program. This offer to help him study was what peaked Eric’s curiosity about Scott’s faith, and so he began to ask Scott questions. His questions, at first, were really hostile.
Buy A Meal
One day Eric forgot to pack his lunch for class. The lunch break was short during this summer program so Eric could not go home to get his lunch. Eric’s finances were tight and he did not want to buy lunch either. Scott heard about the situation that day and simply said he would buy lunch. Eric asked, “Why?” Scott said, “It’s all Jesus’s money anyway.” You’d have to know Scott personally to get how normal it is for him to say something like this.
This little act of kindness and generosity caused Eric to question even more. He was curious about the reasons behind Scott’s continued generosity. His questions grew less hostile and more honest. Soon thereafter Eric put his faith in Christ!
Don’t Be A Hypocrite
After Eric put his faith in Christ, he joined a Bible study in his fraternity. He became very disillusioned when the guys who spoke about Jesus in the Bible study each week were hooking up with girls and partying the rest of the week. He very nearly left the faith were it not for the example of another friend, his roommate Michael.
Michael was the “real deal,” as they say. He talked the talk and walked the walk. He was the one shining example of a real Christian who truly lived for Jesus in the midst of his wild fraternity. Michael’s integrity kept Eric faithful to God and hopeful that he could change his heart and the heart of his friends.
Justin Christopher is the national campus director for Campus Renewal Ministries and the author of Campus Renewal: A Practical Plan for Uniting Campus Ministries in Prayer and Mission. He facilitates CRM’s Partnering Campus Project and also gives leadership to the Campus House of Prayer and the missional community movement at the University of Texas.