WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO, WHERE WE DO IT
New England is America's educational capital. More than 230 accredited colleges and universities educate students in the six New England states. With nearly one million college students from multiple nations, the campuses of New England are a strategic location to share the Gospel with under-evangelized young people who are examining their core values and actively building a foundation for their future. There are three key motives that define our efforts as collegiate missionaries and church planters in collegiate ministry. These motives come from 2 Thessalonians 3:1 and 2 Corinthians 10:15-16.
“Pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1
Rapid Spread of the Message of the Lord
The college campus is a unique environment where students attend class together, study together, work together, eat together and live together. It is a place of continual interaction at a time when life decisions are being made, making the campus a rich environment for the rapid spread of the Gospel. Recently, we presented the Gospel to a student who then told the story to a classmate who came and asked questions of a collegiate missionary after class. When we share the Gospel with a student, we often see the news spreading beyond that student.
That the Message of the Lord May Be Honored
Disciples are made as the Gospel is honored. The 24/7 nature of the collegiate environment allows for life-on-life exposure to what it means to follow Christ. Through one-on-one Bible reading and disciple-making, small groups, larger gatherings on campus and church membership, students are learning the faith and growing in their obedience to Jesus. As students develop disciple-making relationships with more experienced Christians, they are becoming obedient to Jesus, and the message of the Lord is being honored.
“Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand, so that we can preach the Gospel in regions beyond you.” 2 Corinthians 10:15-16
Preaching of the Gospel in Other Regions
Collegiate work multiplies as students graduate, going out and making disciples. Alumni of our collegiate ministries are serving in New England church plants and churches across the region and throughout the world. Because of the international attraction of New England colleges and universities, Gospel work on our campuses is impacting students from many nations, some of which lack strong evangelistic witness. As students’ faith grows, the sphere of activity increases, and we see the expansion into regions beyond our six states.
The college campus is one of the most strategic places to make disciples and work toward Gospel increase. Where else on earth do people gather for an intense time of study, development, social growth and discovery of purpose? People arrive on campus and leave campus every semester, taking the life and faith they have learned with them to new geographic regions. That is why we do what we do where we do it. Let’s pray together for the rapid spread of the message of the Lord and for students to respond by honoring the Gospel.
There are many opportunities for you to be involved in collegiate ministry, from sharing the Gospel or leading a small group to beginning a church outreach or planting a new church on a campus. If you would like to learn more about how to engage in this exciting and strategic work, contact Andy Haynes at email@example.com.
Andy Haynes is the director of New England Students and the co-director of next generation ministries at the Baptist Convention of New England.