Every other week during the fall semester I will be writing about “the character of an effective missional community leader.” Student missionaries don’t just need to do the right things, they need to be the right people. It starts with character. This week, I’ll write about being proactive.
As Christians, we should be proactive because God is proactive. He pursued us. We love and pursue others because He loved and pursued us.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. We love because he first loved us. I John 4:7-10, 19
As Christians, we should also be proactive because we have purpose. We don’t believe in accidents or chance. We believe that wherever God has us, He has us there for a reason. He has us there to love the people around us and to share the good news of Jesus with them.
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” Acts 17:24-27
So what does it look like to be proactive in missional communities. Broadly speaking, I can think of at least three ways to be proactive.
Christians should be the first to introduce themselves to others. We should initiate relationships.
Practically, this means we help people move into their dorms or bring by gifts for new neighbors, we introduce ourselves when we’re at the mailboxes or bus stops, we sit next to someone in the classroom or cafeteria, we attend parties and meet as many people as possible, and we get the headphones out of our ears while we’re walking on campus.
Christians should be the first to gather others. We should be the first to throw parties and make connections between people.
Practically, this means we gather people for game nights, to watch movies or a favorite TV show, to tailgate or watch the game, to join intramural sports teams, or to come over for dinner or to go out to eat.
Christians should be the first to meet the needs of others. We should be the first to see a need and volunteer to help.
Practically, this means tutoring a friend who is struggling in class, fixing someone’s computer when its broken, giving rides to the grocery store to those who do not have cars, taking out a neighbor’s trash or doing their laundry, volunteering when the RA or HOA has needs, or sharing things such as tools, books, movies, and games.
For more on this subject, check out CRM’s Spark Podcast posted every other Thursday.
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 Network and also gives leadership to the Campus House of Prayer and the missional community movement at the University of Texas.