4 Reasons Churches Should Do More On College Campuses

College campuses are an often-neglected mission field. To be fair, it is a challenging mission field and many churches are unsure how to effectively minister in that context. However, it is worth the effort. Here are four reasons churches should strive to do more on college campuses.

1- College campuses are a great place to reach the nations.

According to US News and World Report the number of international students on college campuses in the US has grown 72% since the year 2000. Some estimate that there are over one million international students on our campuses.

We no longer have to send missionaries overseas to reach the nations; we can now go to our local college campuses and do the very same thing for a much smaller financial investment. For those who are passionate about reaching the nations, college campuses are a great place to focus their efforts.

2- Students are the next generation of church leaders.

If we fail to reach college age students, we are failing to reach and disciple the next generation of church leaders. Ignoring this age bracket jeopardizes the future health of our churches.

3- Christian students need to be mobilized to reach their peers.

There are Christian students on college campuses, and many times they feel as though they are all alone. Working with Christian campus ministries creates a network of believers who can then be equipped to reach their peers for Christ.

4- Students of other faiths are often searching for answers to life’s big questions.

The influx of international students to our college campuses creates a unique opportunity. The college-age years in a person’s life are where searching takes places. Many of the international students are adherents to other faiths. They, too, are searching for answers and Christians need to be ready to provide those answers.

I realize college campuses are a difficult place to minister. I realize there are challenges that will have to be strategically overcome. However, we must understand that the mission field has come to us on our college campuses, and we would be unwise to simply ignore this opportunity because it is difficult.

Churches must do more on our college campuses.

What are some ideas you have about how churches can reach out on our college campuses? Please comment below.

Why We Should Support Non-American Missionaries

One of the failures of American missions is that we have been poor stewards of the resources God has given us. We not only have a responsibility to do everything in way that brings glory to God and in a way that is completely in line with Scripture, we also have to be as effective as possible. In one word this is stewardship. Here is an idea on how we can improve missions stewardship.

I have heard many missionaries say that they have the goal of starting churches and then training nationals to carry on the ministry. Their rationale is that the nationals will be better equipped to reach their own people than an American missionary.  This makes perfect sense. But let’s carry that thought process a step further. If nationals can do a better job of reaching their own people, why do American churches not support non-American missionaries/ministries?

Let’s back up one more step. What is the purpose of missions? Would you not agree that it is to spread the gospel to the ends of the world for the purpose of making disciples of all peoples? If that is the goal of missions, we have a responsibility to do that in the most effective way possible. And if nationals can do a better job of reaching their own people than American missionaries can, why not support them in addition to American missionaries?

The question is this,  “What makes it possible for nationals to do a better job of reaching their own people?”  Here a few reasons off the top of my head:

  • They already know the language. Time and money does not have to be spent on this, again allowing us to be better stewards.
  • They already know the culture.  They know how to contextualize the gospel.
  • They already know the city in which they live. Time does not have to be spent on learning the area.
  • They already understand the spiritual climate.  They were raised in it.
  • They already have relationships built.

In addition to this, there is another benefit.  You don’t have to worry about the all-to-common problem of the American missionary starting an Americanized church in a non-American location, thus limiting his effectiveness. The national is starting the church, which makes transitioning that ministry to another national much easier.

I understand the challenges that are associated with a concept like this. But why not put effort into finding non-American missionaries or church planters who have doctrinal and financial accountability to partner with for short periods of time?

Let me state very clearly that I am not all suggesting that God cannot use American missionaries on the foreign field or that they are wasting their time. I have many very good friends who are missionaries and who are doing a great job. There will always be the need for American missionaries to go to the foreign field. I am not suggesting that we no longer support American missionaries or that we should put all of our resources into supporting nationals.

However, I am suggesting that if we are going to improve missions, we must begin to think outside the box. We need to be open to supporting non-American, national, church planters. This will allow us to see a greater effectiveness and be better stewards with our resources.

5 Benefits of a Missions Month

I love missions. In fact, if I wasn’t a Senior Pastor I would want to be a Missions Pastor whose job was to visit and encourage missionaries, educate church members about missions, write about missions, and help churches pursue a more biblical missions program. As a result of my passion for missions, I am always looking for ways to improve missions in our local church. I have read a lot about this, researched this, and even wrote my doctoral project on this topic.

In my research I have found a number of churches that have chosen to have missions months.

Here are a few of benefits they have seen.

1- A missions month provides time for an extended focus on missions.

The truth is that one week isn’t enough. One week out of 52 is not sufficient enough time to focus on missions. The church needs a more extended focus on this vital part of God’s plan. A missions month provides an opportunity for that extended focus.

2- A missions month gives everyone multiple opportunities to hear about missions.

I don’t know how it is in your church, but the chances of everyone being there on the week that you focus on missions is probably slim. This means that some families in the church may go a year or two without hearing about or being challenged with the message of missions. A missions month almost guarantees that everyone in your church will be presented with missions multiple times. This can’t be anything but good.

3- A missions month provides opportunity to have a different focus each week.

I have been in a number of one-week missions conferences that have had a singular focus. This is not necessarily bad, but having a missions month gives the flexibility to have a different focus each Sunday of the month. For instance, each week could focus on a different aspect of Acts 1:8 or a different part of the world. Having a different focus each week, encourages church members with different aspects of missions.

4- A missions month gives more time to do creative things.

In a one-week or three-day conference time is limited. This means that opportunities to be creative are also limited. Having a missions month provides more of an opportunity to think outside of the box and do things a little differently.

5- A missions month gives time for the message of missions to sink in through the avenue of multiple speakers.

Typically, there is only one speaker in a thee-day or one-week conference. The focus of that speaker, however good it is, is what will be driven home in that conference. Having a missions month allows the opportunity to have a different speaker each week. For instance, in our missions month we have a different speaker each week: the pastor of a Spanish church, the director of a mission agency, a Hispanic missionary, and a pastor who used to be a missionary in Mexico. Our members will hear about missions and outreach from several different perspectives, and we think that is a good thing.

A missions month might not be for you, but it can provide some benefits that are worth considering. Give it some thought. You might just find that a missions month is exactly what your church needs.