To humans belong the plans of the heart,
but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.
All a person’s ways seem pure to them,
but motives are weighed by the Lord.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and He will establish your plans.
Proverbs 16:1–3 (NIV)
I was reading this book entitled, Red Moon Rising: Rediscover the Power of Prayer. It contains a lot of faith stories like how a movement began, the adventure and amazement of answered prayers, the sacrifices of pioneering faith, and a group of young people simply daring to take God at His word. I personally desire to be part of a similar move and found myself talking to God about it.
These faith stories reminded me of how we, especially as spiritual leaders, should be so dependent on God, not on our own strategies. I’m not saying that it’s not good to make plans. Of course, we should be good stewards of our resources. We should be highly intentional and relational just like Jesus. But if our strategies and plans become automatic and predictable, we may lose the dynamic leadership of the Holy Spirit.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5–6 (NIV)
As Christian leaders, we expect each other to always be ready, well-planned, and all set externally, but the most important part of our leadership is our internal state. Are we restless? Do we feel far from God? Do we hear from God? Are we all set internally as much as we are externally?
When everything seems to be going great, it usually becomes too easy, too predictable, too comfortable. But how are we spiritually when everything is going well on the surface? We disciple people, lead small groups, preach the gospel, and seem very fruitful. But we should not forget that Jesus is our goal. Do we still talk to Him and still get fascinated by Him? He is our vision. Jesus is the vision. Are we at the center of His plan?
One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
Psalm 27:4–5 (NIV)
We have to constantly get down on our knees and wait for God to speak to us. His sheep know His voice. God gave all His children the ability to hear from Him in different ways. If we don’t get to hear God’s voice and follow it diligently, we’re like fraud spiritual leaders trying to lead on our own. Our greatest desire in life is to know that God is with us. Let us allow God to walk with us as we lead.
There are many instances in the Bible where we can see that Jesus prioritized His intimacy with the Father. Prayer is an undeniable key to all that he Has done.
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Luke 5:16 (NIV)
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
Luke 6:12 (NIV)
Praying is not something we do for God, but it is God allowing us to be involved in something with Him. This is when we encounter God face-to-face without a middle man. We hear from Him when we pray. It is when God releases His power and gives us visions, even seemingly unrealistic ones.
One of the notable stories in Red Moon Rising is that of 24/7 Prayer. It is an international movement of prayer, mission and justice, which began accidentally in 1999 and has grown virally to reach more than half the nations on earth. It was birthed out of the obedience to pray.
Pete Greig (author of Red Moon Rising) quoted one of the renowned theologians, Karl Barth: “To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.”
Our prayers light up the way for the invading forces of heaven. And when a leader hears from God and prays together with his team, we can transform from small-scale guerrilla fights to powerful, publicly defying tanks with our prayers for freedom and restoration—God’s kingdom to come here on earth as it is in heaven.
Just like Joshua in the battle of Jericho, we should be so dependent on God and able to hear instructions from Him as we lead, even if those plans seem weird and unusual. Those kinds of powerful instructions from God are what every leader needs to hear. Joshua heard from God because He is constantly walking with Him. He led with God.
So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.
Joshua 6:27 (NIV)
In our generation today, we need more leaders who will pray and intentionally grow in an intimate relationship with God. Praying should be our lifestyle, not an obligation.
Let’s make our prayers simple, real, and consistent. We don’t need flowery words. We can be honest with God and tell Him what we’re actually thinking, not what we ought to say. Keep praying and never give up!
God is on a mission to restore His kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. That is what we declare as we pray. Let us be expectant that He will answer us as we allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
“Is campus ministry in the Bible?”
I asked one of my professors in Wheaton College this question. He responded, “I think your question is a challenge since it strikes me as somewhat anachronistic. That is, I think you are forcing a question on the Bible that is beyond its time.”
He gave me that answer, assuming that I was talking about high school and college campus ministry, which only came in thousands of years after biblical times. The term “campus ministry” might not be in the Bible, but it does not mean that what we are doing in the campus is not aligned with a biblically-informed understanding and general approach to God’s mission.
What is clear in the Bible is that God works His mission through different generations. What is biblical is God’s heart for the next generation. How does campus ministry figure into this? Campus ministry is the current main strategy.
In this article, we’ll look at a series of questions that would establish why we do campus ministry.
What is our mission?
First, we need to know the main reason behind anything that we do as Christians. And this begs the question, “What is our mission?”
And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to Himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. – 2 Corinthians 5:18,19 (NLT)
Ever since the fall of humanity and our banishment from the garden of Eden, God has been moving forward to reconcile this broken world to Him. We need to understand the narrative of God’s redemptive plan to bring back all things to His original design. God loves humanity and is on a mission of restoration.
Reconciling humanity to Himself is in the heart of God, and He chose the church as His instrument to move this mission forward. Restoration to Him and His original design (shalom) is God’s project for His people here on earth as it is in heaven. This is the message of the kingdom of God that Jesus proclaimed, so He commissioned His Church to go and make disciples of all nations until He returns.
Why the next generation?
The Bible is clear in showing that God desires to reach the younger generation, and this can be seen in both the Old and the New Testaments.
We reach the next generation because:
Why the campus?
In light of God’s mission and His plan to do it multigenerationally, we can ask, “Why the campus?”
The early disciples went to synagogues to preach the gospel. This has always been something that tickled my curiosity. What was so significant about synagogues? Synagogues were the main venue for Jewish worship and learning or teaching of the younger Jews during their time. They were the ideal place to preach the gospel because there were gatherings of people who are rooted in spirituality and education.
Jesus and His other disciples took advantage of the setting in the synagogues to preach the word of God. Jesus began His ministry in a synagogue in Galilee (Luke 4:14,15) and continued to preach in the synagogues of other towns (Luke 4:43,44). Even after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the disciples preached in synagogues as He did. Paul, for instance, took every opportunity he had to preach in the synagogues of the cities he visited.
And once Paul started to preach to the Greeks, he chose to speak in centers of learning, such as the lecture hall at Tyrannus (Acts 19:9) and the marketplace in Athens where Epicurean and Stoic philosophers could discuss with him (Acts 17:16–21).
Fast forward into this century, the campuses are the centers of learning where the next generation exchange and discuss ideas with each other. They house young, trainable people. Therefore, campuses are strategic harvest fields where the church can connect to the younger generation.
The Campus Manifesto of Every Nation states eight reasons we must reach the campus. These three are my favorites:
The main reason for going to the campus is young, moldable hearts and minds are already gathered there. So, if the center of learning for the next generation shifts somewhere else, then we also move to those avenues to preach the gospel. For instance, because young people have shifted to their online platforms to learn and discuss ideas, we do our best to engage the next generation digitally as well.
In Acts 2:17, God promised that He will pour out his Spirit on all people, sons and daughters will prophesy, and young men will see visions. We can trust that God will continue to work in the lives of the next generation. What we have to do now is to go where they are, so that by sharing His message of reconciliation, they can know God.