As I’ve shared the vision of missional communities with students, I’ve noticed a pattern. Most of the time, students get overwhelmed. It just seems like so much. Building relationships with non-Christians can seem daunting when you look at your schedule and realize you mostly hangout with Christians. How in the world are you supposed to spend a significant amount of time with the people you want to reach on top of everything else you have to do? Especially when you consider that the goal is to reach a specific existing community. It’s easier to think about sharing the Gospel with the one or two non-Christians you know. But when you purpose to reach your department, club, fraternity, or team for Jesus, that can seem a lot harder.
I get it. And I’m used to seeing the look on students’ faces when they realize that this thing they feel called to – sharing the Gospel and their lives with their fellow students – doesn’t fit into their life as it now stands. To be honest, some weeks I don’t do a great job of reaching out to my community because life can get busy.
Go and Make Disciples
But, can I tell you something? Something that’s really important and more than a bit uncomfortable? We’re commanded to make disciples. Not encouraged, commanded. It’s that whole Great Commission thing. If we’re not making disciples, we’re living in disobedience. Those weeks that I let the busyness of life get in the way of making disciples: it’s disobedience, and I need to repent.
Some people define making disciples as teaching a younger believer how to follow Jesus. That’s good, and yes, we should be doing that. In fact, as a campus minister that’s basically my job. But I think it’s an incomplete definition. You see, Jesus told his Disciples to go make disciples. Jump forward to Acts and we see Peter preaching to a big crowd of people who weren’t yet following Jesus. All through Acts, the church obeyed the command of Jesus primarily by making disciples of people who weren’t yet following Jesus.
Here’s How You Start
So where does leave us? We’re supposed to make disciples, but there’s school, work, studying and occasionally sleep. But here’s some encouragement: Just start with prayer. Think about who you spend the most time around. Its probably people in your major, unless you’re on a sports team or in a fraternity. These are probably the people who God’s calling you to reach. So find a few friends and commit to praying together once a week for an hour. (An hour is .6% of your week. You can find an hour.) Ask God to give you ideas of how to build good friendships with people and have spiritual conversations with them. Then follow through with the ideas He gives you.
If you do this for a month or two, you’ll find that you’ve changed the way you spend your time. God will give you creative ideas to spend time with people, and honestly some not so creative ones. You eat, right? Well eat with people who don’t know Jesus yet. It’s not creative, but it’s really effective. You study, I hope. Then study with people from your classes, and ask them some good questions to get to know them better. When you’re really getting know someone, spiritual things tend to come up. But first, just start with prayer. God has called us to this. He’ll provide a way for us to obey.
Heather is a campus minister with Campus Renewal at Cornell University and Ithaca College. She longs to see the church praying and working together to make Christ know. She’s originally from Texas, and it took a man named Andrew to transplant her to the Northeast. She’s glad to leave three digit temperatures behind, but has yet to find a decent tortilla in New York. When she’s not watching Sci-Fi with her husband, she’s usually playing with her dog or reading.