Chris Mills writes about the strategic value of translating students’ mission experience to reaching the nations all around them, wherever they go.
One of my primary areas of ministry is mobilizing students to the nations. I love to hear stories of how students have seen God at work through their service, whether it’s across town or across the globe. Yet, there is something about those stories that leads me to believe that God wants us to use those students’ missions experiences to better equip them to serve and reach the nations on our campuses. I’m convinced God is calling us to mobilize the mobilized. We have an army of student volunteers that have had unique experiences, been educated culturally in a grand way, and have great connecting points with international students from the areas of the world where God has allowed them to serve. Will we unleash this army to reach the nations here?
WHY SHOULD WE MOBILIZE THE MOBILIZED?
Student missionaries serve in a variety of settings providing them with a variety of experiences. That experience with the culture, the people, the food, etc. creates an avenue to connect with international students from that region of the world. Student missionaries also have an experience much like that of an international student in that they understand what it’s like to do life in a different environment. Student missionaries can use these experiences to draw connections to the international students on campus.
One student that has sought to do just that is Haley. Her experiences as a student missionary overseas have shaped her heart for the nations on her campus. She interned with her campus ministry for a few years, leading their efforts in reaching international students and mobilizing her peers to engage in missions both abroad and on campus!
I often remind students that while the funds raised to send them across the globe will certainly make an impact on their location of service, perhaps the far greater impact is on the individual student that goes. I firmly believe we are not being good stewards of the considerable investment of money and time if students are not applying their missions experience to their life back on campus. A key component of that is taking that same message of hope to the nations on campus. May we be good stewards of the missions experience – bringing it back home to the international students here.
HOW SHOULD WE MOBILIZE THE MOBILIZED?
1. Equip and Encourage
As leaders, we should make time to debrief students about their experience. Talk them through their missions experience, and while doing so, encourage them to apply what they have learned back on campus. Provide avenues for student missionaries to use what they have learned in their missions experience on campus and through your ministry. Intentionally think outside the box about how to connect their unique experience to unique ministry opportunities.
Lauren and Ryan began dating before Lauren left for a semester missions experience in South Asia. While she was serving in India, Ryan looked around to see the multitudes of Indian students on campus. He began apartment ministries with these students which ultimately provided avenues for Lauren to invest in ministry to South Asians when she returned home.
Hold students accountable. Help them be good stewards by challenging them to use the experience God has given them. When time and college life seem to take over, challenge them to stay the course.
The stories mentioned above haven’t stopped. Haley has recently returned to East Asia – this time as an English teacher. She has had the opportunity to build on some of those relationships that began on her campus in Alabama, by connecting with those same students in East Asia! While Ryan and Lauren are preparing for next steps overseas, they have maximized their professions to be planted in a major US city among South Asians here. They’re taking this time to learn more about the culture and prepare for an opportunity to serve in South Asia.
I’m confident that God is giving us unusual opportunities on our campuses today – including record numbers of international students on campuses all across North America and open doors for students to go on missions experiences across the globe – for His glory. May we be found faithful in mobilizing the mobilized to reach the nations here. Who knows how God might use them here…and there!
This article orginally was published on the Collegiate Collective website.