by Jonathan D. Davis; Campus Minister, Charleston Southern University
With all the ups and downs going on in the world today, especially in America, hearing good news always brings a smile. One of the exciting things happening in South Carolina is a spiritual movement within college campuses. Now, I do not want to paint a picture that every campus experiences a sweeping awakening where thousands open up to Jesus as their Lord and Savior. But, I do want to convey there is a movement among believers that encourages in ways I have not seen in a long time.
In my subjective experience (which means speaking on college campuses and dealing directly with campus ministry leadership on other campuses), a common theme rises among college students regardless of location. What connection do I see among believers on college campuses across our state? Without hesitation it is what I will call intentional discipleship. What is intentional discipleship?
It is not just a Bible study, fellowship or a service project where a group of students adopt an area and try to serve the community in a selfless way. All these components (Bible study, fellowship and service) are parts of discipleship. What I mean by intentional discipleship is an intense desire to lead people into a burning relationship with Jesus where not only does the learner want to know Jesus, but the learner longs to see others know and experience the love of Christ in a meaningful way.
Here is just one story.
There was a college student who struggled with believing that he or she really had purpose and direction. At the end of a science seminar, the student indicated that a friend was interested in becoming a devoted follower of Jesus. As I stood there, the student introduced the friend and I began to ask some questions about the interest in Jesus. I immediately realized the newly introduced friend wanted a relationship with Jesus. So, turning to the student who brought the friend I said, “Why don’t you share with your friend about how to have a relationship with Jesus?” One could easily see that the student who initiated the whole conversation stood in shock. “Me?” asked the student. “Yes, you!” I responded.
I stood in amazement as the Holy Spirit took over and the student shared with the friend about trusting in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins, the exchange of our unrighteousness for His, the immediate sealing of the Holy Spirit and repentance. Awe, wonder and absolute joy filled my heart and soul as I experienced a student leading (i.e. discipling) a student into salvation and intimacy with Jesus. (As you read I hope you experience my excitement and bragging on the Holy Spirit’s work in this student, but wait…it gets better.)
Not only did the student disciple the friend into “the kingdom of God,” but also this student began to consistently meet with, fellowship with, encourage, teach, serve together, lead, love and invest in the friend. It was not a fancy prayer and then “See you later.” The student allowed immediate life access to the new Christ-follower and did life together. I am thrilled to say the new believer went on to share numerous times on numerous occasions how Jesus changed one’s life. In fact, the new Christian continues to openly share how JESUS changes one’s life daily.
In conclusion, with our fast paced world creating less and less time for deep, meaningful relationships. I want you to be encouraged that there is a generation that understands the need for rich investment in the lives of others. There is a younger generation that wants to grow, learn and share the love of Jesus. There is a younger generation that is grateful for the generations who went before them paving a way for a better life by being sacrificial. There is a younger generation that seeks to share this sacrificial love by living it out and sharing their lives with others even at great cost.
In short, there is a younger generation who is thankful for you! Your work has not been forgotten, neither has your work been done in vain. Please know that we have learned to be intentional, sacrificial and consistently pour our lives into others because you showed us how by your love for Jesus.
What we want to say and need to say is, “Thank you!” Please know you are appreciated!