3 Things I've Learned in College Ministry
I've learned so much about God while doing college ministry. Here are a few takeaways I hope will encourage your walk with Him this week:
1. God honors His gospel.
My tendency when sharing the Gospel has usually been to approach people with this expectation that I'll be rejected. But the truth is, when the gospel is shared it is always backed by the power of God. Sharing it was never meant to be about me and my own power to persuade. God proclaims His power in His gospel. He is ready and willing to show Himself to those who have heard and seen the gospel through our lives and words.
Surely they won't receive what I have to share.
Their issues with God will surpass my ability to console them.
These one off conversations never lead somewhere fruitful.
They don't know me and they probably have class later so...
These are a few layers of internal dialogue that I have to denounce almost every time I share with people on campus. But again and again, I see God's heart to honor His gospel every time I step out in faith.
- "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few..." (Luke 10:2) God sees the harvest and He's calling us to see it as well.
- Read Peters sermon in Acts 2 and see how God loves to honor His gospel when it is preached.
2. God gave us His presence. And the greatest gift you can give someone is your presence.
Nothing speaks love over people more than our availability. Time is always in short supply, but if we give it generously to others we will be rewarded with an inheritance within those we are generous toward. I have seen again and again a power unlocked - power not of of this world - when I inconvenience myself in order to be present with others. This power is beyond our years and will bear fruit in them and us even without our noticing. When we make up our minds to be present, we begin to see (and help others to see) the spaces that have separated us from God and from others diminished.
- Giving someone your presence will lead you to carry their burdens. "Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ." - Galatians 6:2
- Giving someone your presence will help you to stop only thinking about yourself. "do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." - Philippians 2:4
- God honors and blesses us with what we are willing to give to others. "The generous man will be prosperous, And he who waters will himself be watered." - Proverbs 11:25
3. God is the greatest encourager.
"Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word." (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)
God always acts to give us encouragement. He's amazing! Even when we feel like He should give up on us, He never relents in showing mercy and extending hope. In college ministry, I've noticed that my role is to be an encourager. To stand behind people in their hopeless moments and help them to push through. To be their armor bearer as they wage war against sin and temptation. To give grace when they expect retribution. To cancel debts. God has called us to be like Him! Set your heart to see and ask God what He thinks of the people around you and ask Him how you can be an encouragement to them. Over the years I've tried to pray consistently for my students and give them words of encouragement as often as I can.
- "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." (Galatians 6:7) Sow encouragement and you will reap encouragement. Whatever feelings or responses you are having an abundance of, positive or negative, prayerfully consider what they are signifying about what you have been sowing. Ask God for wisdom on what you should take personal responsibility for and find ways to change what you're sowing.
- Jesus said, "Anyone who is thirsty come to Me. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'" (John 7:38). Drink from Jesus and in you will flow rivers of living water to bless and encourage others.