It was miserable. We weren’t having fun and we weren’t seeing God move. My last few years helping with a junior high youth group, I had a really bad attitude. I served mainly so that people would look at me and say, “look, he’s doing something real good!” When you serve like that it’s miserable. So we stepped out.
When my wife and I were asked to volunteer with Cru at Butler Community College, I was already pretty burnt out. I’ve got a full-time job, as an automotive machinist, and a new baby and I guess I expected college ministry to be a lot like working with the junior high.
If you think about it, it’s really quite hysterical that we think we don’t have enough time to do what we’re supposed to do for Christ. We’re supposed to be living our lives missionally. We should already be doing that.
It should have been easy, but it wasn’t an easy decision.
I’m really not sure why we decided to do it, but I was surprised how ready college students are to sit down and have great conversations. They are really looking to find a foundation.
Just like with the youth group, though, we started trying to do everything ourselves instead of seeing it as God’s ministry and doing what He wanted, trusting Him to do the work. We weren’t seeing God moving, not seeing students come to Christ, just checking it off our list as a Christian club.
Then at a Cru Christmas conference, God really broke us. We call it a Holy Spirit smack to the face. We had viewed it as our ministry, but it’s not our ministry at all. It is God’s ministry and He just allows us to be a part of it. So, we surrendered it all to Him and then we started seeing the life of Jesus, where His heart is. His heart is for the lost and that’s not something we were ever focused on before.
We did a study of the life of Jesus and saw God moving in the hearts of students like never before. We had never seen someone come to Christ before, but after that we saw students coming to Christ, and started discipling them. We saw students receiving Christ and their lives being transformed.
A couple years later, my brother, who recruited me to help out, stepped out of full-time staff and put me in charge of the campus. I’d never even taken a college class, and my day job kept me off campus until evening, when most community college students have already left. Still, we saw the ministry thrive and I thought, if God can use us to do this, He can use anybody!
So we invited 16 couples to our house for a “vision meeting.” We told them about our ministry at Butler and about the other campuses in our back yard: Emporia State, Wichita State and Hutchinson Community. We explained how students were falling through the cracks, and asked them to pray about each campus and see if it was something they were interested in. 4 couples signed up, so now we run ministries on these 4 campuses while a Cru staff member coaches me over the phone.
This whole endeavor has just taken a willingness to learn. There is so much to learn from God, from Cru and even from the students.
Students are always struggling with something, no matter how strong they look. What makes it worthwhile is when that student comes to understand what Christ has done for them for the first time, or fully surrenders to God, and we see God make that transformation in their life.
Even if it just happened to one student it’d be worth it, but we have been blessed to see it multiple times.
Could God be leading you to help reach students near you? Find out what that might look like.