‘Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” – Matthew 9:37-38
College campus ministry, what is it? It means being a staff member on a college campus who shares the gospel with students, trains them in leadership, teaches the Bible, encourages and supports them, counsels and guides them. I got offered a job here in the USA to do this ministry, a ministry I had been doing for a long time back in Australia. (I am excited! I wasnt looking for a job when I came, but God had other plans and I feel so blessed that God has opened this door for me here). But, this is a ministry that desperately needs more staff. In just my area (in a radius of over an hours drive anywhere around me) I am it. In the many, many campus’ around me with the many thousands of students…there are no other staff employed to do this work, the harvest is ready…the workers are absent (you can’t really count me as a ‘few’). So, having been offered the job, the next challenge is support raising. What is support raising? I hear you ask, well it means to raise the finances to fund my wages, expenses, admin etc (and I have to raise them fully if I want to keep doing the ministry) and it also means raising a team of prayers to pray for this ministry. So, how do you overcome cultural differences to fund a ministry in a country you don’t know? And that wasn’t a rhetorical question.
I was reading an article the other day, about this. It said that many Americans don’t like people asking for financial support…even for ministries, and though this article was written about Americans, I think it is probably true of a lot of countries (now, let me just say, at this point, that though this article may be correct, I have also met wonderful, godly people who give so much to God’s work). If this article is correct, how do you go about getting prayer and financial support for a ministry, ie campus ministry? If you don’t ask people, because of some bad reactions, then this robs them of the opportunity to be part of a ministry, in particular this ministry to students. These are our potential future leaders or as someone once put it…our future. These students, after college/university, will be reaching places we won’t be travelling to and meeting people we will never meet…all opportunities for the gospel. If the article is right and people don’t want to be asked, then they are missing out on the opportunity to be involved in a ministry they can’t do themselves…is this what God would want? Is this why there are so few people in this field of ministry here in the USA (and in fact many other places around the world) because they can’t get support that enables them to do the ministry and pay their bills? Is it too easy to say ‘my money goes overseas or to the local church…or whatever”? If people just donated the amount they pay to take their family out (for one night a week) to dinner, it would be a huge help to get people onto campus. Campus ministry is so important, so vital. Especially nowadays when you have students struggling with student life and needing support to stay strong in their faith while on campus, or others needing to be shown what true love is, I mean REAL love, not the sugar coated version that society says is love. Real love is sharing with someone the most important thing they will ever hear in their life…the gospel. The one thing that if they chose to accept, will save them from Hell and give them eternal life, to share the gospel is the ultimate gift of love. At the moment, here in the North West of America, there is a real need for staff to enter this ministry, there is a real need for staff to be on campus.
But don’t get me wrong, as I said earlier, this isn’t just Americans, this mindset towards student ministry is common in other countries too. In Australia I worked with an organisation that had many people working on campus’ around the country and, yet again, many of these workers struggled to get financial support. And for the life of me I can’t understand why. This is an amazing mission field, here in America, as well as Australia, it is one that has been challenged by secular groups on campus’. These groups try to prevent this ministry and want the ministry staff thrown off the campus. They don’t want the Bible taught to students, or students encouraged in their faith and walk with God…and they DON’T want the gospel shared. We need an army of prayers to surround this ministry and many to financially support it. The battle is on, the devil doesn’t want to see this ministry succeed. Ultimately, God is in control, the question is…will you step up and be part of His ministry? Will you seek out the workers in your local campus and offer to support them prayerfully and/or financially? Will you support this ministry God has created? Will you partner with the staff in His mission field?