Students can change the world!

I recently googled “the power of student movements” and I wasn’t surprised to see over 65,100,00 results.

Their passion for life and desire to make an impact has motivated them to do incredible things throughout all of history.   Most of the overthrowing of oppressive governments has been the result of students standing up and fighting for freedom.  Christian students for centuries have also had a massive impact on the world.  These movements usually start with a sparking of a passion, talking, hearing from God and then DOING something about it.  Some of the more notable movements include:

Haystack Revival – Five Williams College students gathered in a field to discuss the spiritual welfare of the people of Asia. Within four years of that gathering some of the participants established the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). In 1812 it sent its first missionaries to India.[2] During the same century the ABCFM sent missionaries to China, Hawaii and other nations in Southeast Asia, establishing hospitals and schools at its mission stations. Many of its missionaries undertook translation of the Bible into native languages, and some created written languages where none had existed before. Thousands of missionaries were sent to Asia and they taught numerous indigenous peoples.

The Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions was an organization founded in 1886 that sought to recruit college and university students in the United States for missionary service abroad. It also sought to publicize and encourage missionary enterprise in general. Arthur Tappan Pierson was the primary early leader.

Urbana Since 1946, God has used Urbana to challenge more than 250,000 participants with their responsibility and privilege in global missions. Started in Toronto Ontario at U of T. https://urbana.org/history

Youth With A Mission began in 1956 when a 20-year-old American college student named Loren Cunningham spent some time in prayer while on tour with a singing group in the Bahamas. Leaning back on his bed he saw what he called a “mental movie.” There was a map of the world and waves were breaking all over it. The waves began to turn into young people, thousands of them, spilling on to every continent and sharing the good news about Jesus. The picture faded.

“Was that really you, Lord?” he asked.

This idea, radical at the time, that young people could be missionaries, stayed with Loren. Four years later, in 1960, he started an organization with that idea expressed in its name: Youth With A Mission

2012 Passion Conference over 42,000 young adults raised over 3.3 million to help fight Human Trafficking. http://thecnnfreedomproject.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/05/college-kids-vow-to-end-slavery/

I honestly believe there is no limit to what the Holy Spirit can do through a young adult with a passion.  He works within the personality and giftings of every student and can cause the simplest dreams to become powerful realities.  Some students may be diamonds in the rough and just need a little more love and attention, others are ready to soar and just need the opportunity.  Many in the current generation realize a paycheck, while necessary, doesn’t bring fulfillment.  They want to be Jesus’ hands and feet in this world.  ISM will help them be just that.

Youth & Young Adult Pastors, teachers and coaches are given the incredible privilege of sparking passion, helping them discover their destiny and breathing life into their dreams. All of us can champion the young adults in our life!  Our cheering them on can help them become everything they were born to be.  Young adults out there – WE BELIVE IN YOU!  It’s your turn to GO! – the future is bright, God is beside you, before you and behind you, shouting your name, and chasing you with His goodness.  There are no limits.

Unicorns are in Fairy Tales

Growing up I was taught that only some very special, super spiritual people were “called” to the mission field.   Not only were they special, the “call” was even more special.  All the missionaries I heard speak either said, or I imagined them saying, that they heard God’s audible voice.  I imagined that voice was very similar to Morgan Freeman’s.  The voice connected with the very special call would boom, usually in the middle of the night – “GO to Africa” – and oh yes, it was always to Africa.  Others I imagined had a vision of a large God hand that reached out of the sky and pointed to a continent or country. Yes, Africa again.  I would either listen, on the edge of my seat, to incredible stories of trekking in strange and exotic lands and eating barbequed mice on a stick or ask my mom if I could go to the washroom for the third time, depending on the presenter.

Go to Africa

As a young woman I thought missionaries were strange creatures and if their words didn’t confirm this to me their clothing did. I remember watching endless slides of sad, dirty children with flies on their mouths, and, after hearing the presentations, I usually thought, “I don’t ever want to be a missionary and/or I could never be like them.”  My memories may be slightly blurred by my preconceived ideas of what I thought it meant to be a missionary.

Surprisingly however, I’ve met a lot of people who have the same preconceived ideas about missionaries.  Many people think you need to be super spiritual and have a supernatural call before you go overseas.  But, for most people, that may never happen.  Kind of like saving enough money before you get married, only less likely.  If you believe the idea that missionaries aren’t just like you,  you put them into an elite category, which results in you never entertaining the idea that YOU were called to go.  Waiting until you are ‘amazing’ before you go will keep you exactly where you are right now. Very special and super spiritual people, along with very special calls, are more mythical than real.  Unicornish. People are people.  Missionaries are people.  People make mistakes, sin fairly regularly, let others down,  struggle with pride – just like you probably do.  We all can be wowed by a great talent and the charisma of someone telling a story, but the true character of a man/women is not found in their words, but in the way they live.  Yes, some missionaries may yell at their friends and family, eat too much, lie from time to time and even might have wrong motives.  They can also be beautiful, kind, compassionate, grace filled and inspirational.   The point is, they are people.  You are people.  God loves and uses people. You don’t need a special call or be of a special spiritual status in order to do what Jesus said.  Instead of praying about whether or not you should go,  you might want to pray about whether or not you should stay. Yes, supernatural calls do happen,  but generally just reading Jesus words, “Go and make disciples” Matt 28:19, should be enough.  “Go and make disciples” is the supernatural call, isn’t it?   Does He really need to say more?

Foolish enough to think you can make a difference

Franciscan benediction

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers,

half-truths, and superficial relationships

So that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger

At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,

so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears

To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,

So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them

and To turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness

To believe that you can make a difference in the world,

So that you can do what others claim cannot be done

To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

Amen.