On February 7th, a group of students plus a group of my adult friends gathered to watch the “Compelled by Love” documentary about Rolland and Heidi Baker’s life and work in Mozambique. There were many amazing things in the movie that I thought were incredibly applicable to ministry among college students, so I thought I would share them with you.
The Secret Place
In the movie, Heidi shares with us that the only thing that keeps her going in ministry is her time in the secret place with the Lord. She said she prefers to spend approximately 4-6 hours a day with Him, so that she can have the strength to keep going and be as joyful as she is all the time. As an international speaker, there are many people that want to meet with her all the time but her time with the Lord is non-negotiable.
I find that as a college minister, my time is under high demand as well. Unfortunately, I am not as vigilant as Heidi, when it comes to defending my time with the Lord from the barrage of people who always need something. I pray that this year, time with the Lord becomes a precious commodity that I realize I cannot live without.
There is always adversity and suffering in life. It is inescapable. One thing that Heidi said about her work in Mozambique regarding suffering is that what seemed like an overnight turnaround happened when they started working from the place of honor. Having worked in Mozambique for years previously, Iris Ministries was quite familiar with death threats, being stoned and a variety of other assaults.
In prayer one morning the Lord told Heidi to start from the place of honor. So Heidi invited all the chiefs, kings, and elders of the village to an event where every person in her organization including visitors from over 40 nations, walked through a line and in all humility and honor thanked the leaders for letting them be a part of their community. Then they asked the leaders to explain to their staff what the beauty and uniqueness is about their people group in Mozambique. After that point, the harassment stopped. Honor goes a long way.
After working in Mozambique for 20 years, Heidi is beginning to see a multi-generational discipleship happen. As wonderful as that is, it all began in the context of family first. As each of the orphans were invited into the care of Iris Ministries, it was critical that each one of them knew they weren’t just receiving pity or charity, but that they were adopted into a family. They achieved that goal through many different tactics, one of them was allowing the kids to eat or drink from the refrigerator whatever their hearts desired on Sundays.
Sundays were a day of “Holy Spirit Chaos” where the kids had permission to do whatever they wanted just like they would if they grew up in a family. The children weren’t reprimanded for believing that they had the right to take what they wanted because they were a part of a family. Those initial children grew up and now are becoming house parents for the next generation of children. This is what discipleship looks like in a university context. Once students are brought in and realize they are family, they have the capacity to buy in to the vision and reach out and make more disciples, fulfilling the Great Commission.
It’s All About Jesus
Ultimately, the work is all about Jesus. As an international speaker, Heidi has to deal with the fame that accompanies her success. The fame, leads people to in some way worship her for her achievements. In the documentary, Heidi says, that all she does is like a little girl; she climbs onto the feet of her daddy and dances with Him. He is the one moving and doing things, she is simply along for the ride.
Heidi’s success is found in her Christocentric worldview. She is consumed with affection for Jesus and the affection of Jesus. He has won her heart. With the worthiness of Jesus in focus, everything else that happens be it good or bad, comes into immediate perspective. It reminds me of the old song that says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full into His glorious face. Then the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His wonder and grace.”
Everything after this is much like shampoo, Rinse and Repeat as necessary. Being consumed with His worthiness will help you prioritize spending time with Him in the secret place which will help you deal with suffering which will cause growth in your ministry through establishing the main principle that the Kingdom of God is a family first, which makes you realize how beautiful Jesus is, and you come back to the place of worship. Rinse and Repeat.
I highly recommend watching this documentary. I wonder what other comparisons there are between her work in Mozambique and the work we do as campus ministers.
Jill Hurley is the Executive Director of Tech 24-7, a campus ministry at Texas Tech University which has invited students from all denominations and backgrounds to join together in the Campus House of Prayer (CHOP) and pray for our Texas Tech University. We also host a weekly gathering called Ekballo, which serves as a training ground to train students in how to practically do evangelism and discipleship as students. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Religion and Anthropology, and hopes to graduate in the next two years. Jill is single and taking applications for currently unfilled roles as husband and children. If you would like to apply for either, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. She is partially joking.