Transform Your College Campus for Christ
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2008 1 Jan
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Jaeson Ma's new book, The Blueprint: A Revolutionary Plan to Plant Missional Communities on Campus, (Regal Books, 2007).
Research shows that the vast majority of people on college campuses aren’t Christian, and that 18- to 25-year-olds are the least likely of all age groups to go to church. But, as a Christian college student, your light is powerful enough to dispel the darkness around you. If you invite God’s presence into the lives of others on your campus, you’ll become part of a revolution that can completely transform your college and everyone who studies there.
Here’s how you can transform your college campus for Christ:
Focus on the three aspects of transformation. Know that, to help bring true transformation to your campus, you need to aim for three things: revival (large numbers of people being converted to faith in Christ through prayer), reformation (redeeming every sphere of the culture through evangelism), and restoration (connecting students to the universal church through planting churches on campus).
Don’t settle for anything less than the best. Ask God to help you move beyond apathy and complacency into a passionate desire to transform your campus. Realize that many of the people on your campus may have grown up in church but left once they became adults because all they encountered was dead religion. Make it your goal to introduce them to the presence of the living God. Instead of just spending time in fellowship with the other Christians on campus, be bold about getting out there with the lost and pointing them to the hope God wants them to have.
Pray repentance prayers. Make the conscious decision to completely surrender your will to God, turning away from your way of thinking and toward God’s way of thinking. These kinds of prayers establish God’s rule in your life. Since they release heaven on earth by inviting God to take control, they serve as the foundation for your work helping to transform your campus – a work that God will lead, through His Spirit. Turn from your sin and selfish ambitions, ask God what He wants you to do with your life, and be sure to obey when He answers. Daily repent of every sin you’re aware of that may be blocking your intimacy with God, and remember that His mercies are new every morning. Keep in mind the evidence that your repentance prayers are genuine: you’re convicted of your sin; you experience deep sorrow and humility because of your sin; you agree with God that your sin is unacceptable and confess it to Him and others; and you’re committed to forsaking your sin, making restitution wherever possible, reconciling with those you’ve wronged, and wholeheartedly obeying God’s commands in the future.
Invite the Holy Spirit to fill you. Recognize that you’re not meant to try to live the Christian life in your own, limited power. Decide to rely on the unlimited power that God offers you. Every day, ask God to fill and empower you with His Holy Spirit. Expect to see evidence of a transformed life as a result. Engage in a continuous Spirit-led prayer throughout your waking moments, talking and listening with the Spirit like the best friend He is to you. Rest assured that the Spirit’s presence in your life will empower you to be a powerful witness of the Gospel to others on your campus.
Practice waiting prayers. Expect that there will be many times when you’ll need to wait until the right time to hear a message from God as you’re seeking to serve Him on your campus. Spend time in praise, prayer, and Bible reading daily, and afterward, welcome the Holy Spirit’s presence. Don’t approach the Spirit with any agenda of your own; give all your attention to simply listening to Him. Write down whatever you hear in a prayer journal. Then close your time with a prayer of thanksgiving.
Pray with faith. When you pray for transformation to occur on your campus, envision a clear and specific goal that you’ve received from the Holy Spirit. Ask God to give you a passionate desire to accomplish that goal, and to help you persevere as you work toward it. Pray for the assurance that God will make it happen. Then speak with confidence about the goal, having faith that you will accomplish it at the right time.
Pray for revival. Bring together staff, faculty, local church leaders and student leaders on your campus and in your area to pray regularly for campus revival. Repent of your personal and corporate sins and intercede for the lost. Pray strategically for the salvation of each person by mentioning them by name. Mobilize others to start prayer cells in every area on campus. Coordinate prayer rallies and prayer walks to ask God to bring revival and to spread the vision of campus revival to as many people as possible.
Set up 24/7 prayer rooms. Establish a place of prayer on your campus where students, staff, and faculty can go anytime, day or night, to pray for the spiritual transformation of the campus and everyone on it. Recognize that just about any space will do; secure a location that’s available for a certain length of time, and eventually try to find a space that can be used permanently for prayer. Meet with student and staff leaders to cast a vision for the prayer room, and challenge them to mobilize others to help. Set dates for your prayer 24/7 prayer event, publicize the event, and ask people to take one- or two-hour shifts in the prayer room. Whenever you find a permanent place, be creative about letting people know that it’s available (such as by using online sites like Facebook or My Space to get the word out).
Evangelize with power. Don’t dilute God’s message by using seeker-sensitive evangelism strategies. Be bold about preaching the Gospel in all its power, trusting that God will show up and draw people to Him whenever you do so. Don’t worry about what others will think about you, or be afraid of offending them. Ask God to give you the courage you need to change your campus through the Holy Spirit’s power.
Worship prophetically. Trust God to win the spiritual battles on your campus and choose to rely on Him rather than on your own strength, strategies, or ideas. Instead of focusing on just explaining the Gospel, focus on helping people encounter God’s manifest presence on campus. Ask God to help you see beyond the darkness of the natural world on your campus and look with eyes of faith into the light of the spiritual victory He can bring to your campus. Gather a prophetic worship team and prepare by praying for faith and protection from evil. Go to places where people regularly gather on campus – in outdoor courtyards, student union buildings, restaurants, stadiums, etc. – and boldly and passionately praise God to tear down spiritual strongholds and release God’s victory onto the campus. Worship a cappella or with simple instruments. As you worship, don’t focus on the reactions of people around you or the spiritual warfare taking place; instead, focus on the beauty of Christ’s holiness and keep pressing in with praise. Let the Holy Spirit lead you.
Preach apostolically. Be willing to preach the Gospel however the Holy Spirit leads you, to that many people will come to faith. Prepare yourself by reading biographies of apostolic preachers from the Bible and throughout history, praying in the spirit for at least two hours before preaching, and ask God to speak His words through you. Find a free-speech area on campus and begin preaching when you’re ready, keeping in mind that you’re preaching to the people who listen, rather than at them. After preaching, engage in conversations with people who were listening, and ask if you can pray for them personally. Follow up with them later. Start a Bible study on campus for the people who have just come to faith through your apostolic preaching.
Pray for deliverance. Realize that Satan has blinded unbelievers from seeing the truth about the Gospel, but that, as a Christian, you have the authority to intercede for them to be delivered from evil and discover the truth about Jesus – the truth that will set them free. Understand that demons are real, and you must deal with them on your campus to release God’s justice. When you pray for people you suspect are under the influence of evil, first verify whether or not they’re possessed. Then exercise authority over the evil spirit that’s tormenting them, and pray for the person to return to his or her right mind. Ask the person, “Do you want to be set free?”. If so, introduce the person to Jesus as Savior and Lord. Investigate what ways the person may have opened the door for evil to enter his or her life, and pray about each spiritual problem individually, asking the blood of Jesus to wash away the wrong choices the person has made in the past that have made him or her vulnerable to evil. Lead the person to verbally renounce evil. Break the person’s bondages and cast out the demon or demons. Give thanks to God and ask Him to immediately fill the person with His Holy Spirit. Encourage the person to begin reading and meditating on Scripture right away so he or she can replace lies with truth. Verify how effective the deliverance has been, looking for signs that the person acknowledges Jesus as Lord, and is in his or her right mind and at peace.
Evangelize prophetically. Before sharing your faith with someone, ask the Holy Spirit to fill your soul and empower you. Pray for the Spirit to lead you to the right people and help them be receptive to your messages for them. Whenever you sense that the Spirit has given you a particular bit of knowledge about someone, don’t be afraid to share that information with the person. But be careful to say, “I think,” or “I believe,” rather than insisting that God told you so, because there’s always a chance that what you’re hearing is not from the God until the person confirms the information. If what you’ve spiritually discerned about the person turns out to be correct, ask the person if you can pray about that topic with him or her.
Usher in divine healing. Look for sick and oppressed people on your campus who could use healing. Then ask them questions about what might be causing their condition, welcome the Holy Spirit into their bodies and minds, and ask God to heal them using whatever type of prayer is most appropriate for their situation (such as rebuking illnesses or commanding people to use their injured bodies to claim healing if God is offering it). Remember that divine healing isn’t always immediate; it may happen over time. Also remember that God may not choose to heal certain people, through no fault of their own. Never make someone feel as if their lack of healing is due to a failure on their part. Simply be willing to intercede for them in case it is God’s will for them to be healed. After people are healed, ask them to visit a doctor to have their healings verified.
Prepare to transform the marketplace. Use your college studies to prepare yourself to bring transformation not just to your campus, but also to your workplace after you graduate. Remember that all work is sacred, and all believers are ministers, so you can have just as significant of a spiritual impact in a secular job as you can in professional ministry, as long as you do your best and work to fulfill God’s purposes. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you identify your passions, natural talents, and spiritual gifts. Then think and pray about how you best put them to use, doing work you enjoy and do well.
Plant simple churches on campus. Integrate people who come to faith through your efforts on campus into new, simple churches that you create for them on campus to worship together in regularly. Keep in mind that church isn’t a building; it’s a group of people, so campus churches can meet anywhere – at a park, in an apartment, etc. Remember that you don’t need a professional preacher because all believers are ministers and can each contribute to running the church, just like the earliest Christians did when the church first started (as described in the Book of Acts). Recognize that the church isn’t a social club; it’s a place to make disciples. Be sure to do more than just fellowship. At a simple church service, you can incorporate all the elements of a traditional church service: a welcome time (especially with food, conversations, and celebrating Communion together), a worship time (praising God through singing and other creative means such as giving testimonies, drawing, dancing, etc. and giving tithes and offerings, which can be used to support social justice causes and help simple church members in need), a time of waiting (listening for God’s voice speaking, then responding), a time for the Word (studying and discussing the Bible), and a time for works (performing service that God leads church members to do to help transform society for the better). To start and multiply simple churches on your campus, pray and ask God to lead your planning, bring you the right people for your team, and guide you to join in what He’s already doing spiritually on campus. Look for pockets of unbelievers to reach and ask the Holy Spirit which one He wants you to reach first (a particular fraternity or sorority, a certain sports team, etc.) and what strategy you should have for reaching them. Aim to eventually create a simple church for every student group, and to bring church to them rather than bringing them to church. Befriend lost students, pray for them, help meet their needs, and share the Gospel with them. Find leaders within each student group you want to reach who are receptive to the Gospel, and encourage them to pass along the Gospel message to others in the group. Train these student leaders to take over leadership of the simple church from you and to keep focusing outward to reach new people with the Gospel. Remember to keep relying on God’s power working through you, and to simply be faithful, trusting that He will draw people to Himself at the right times and in the right ways.
Adapted from The Blueprint: A Revolutionary Plan to Plant Missional Communities on Campus, copyright 2007 by Jaeson Ma. Published by Regal Books, a division of Gospel Light, Ventura, Ca., www.regalbooks.com.
Jaeson Ma is director of Campus Church Networks, a church-planting ministry that has planted more than 300 student-led house churches in North America and East Asia. He also co-founded Campus Transformation Network, which has mobilized 24-7 Prayer rooms on more than 80 major universities in the United States and more than 100 in China in partnership with Campus Renewal Ministries (Jeremy Story), 24-7 Prayer (Pete Greig) and Burning Heart Ministries (Becky Tirabassi). Jaeson is a frequent speaker and strategic trainer for student revivals, retreats, outreach events and conferences in the United States and around the world. He is also international ambassador for “The Call,” a youth prayer movement started by Lou Engle in 2000 that has mobilized more than one million youth around the world to pray and fast for revival and national transformation.