On a trip to Southeast Asia a few years ago, I flew over the Himalayan Mountains and marveled at the majesty and beauty of mountaintop after mountaintop. At one point, I was able to see the top of Mount Everest towering over the peaks of this incredible mountain range that was proclaiming God’s glory.
And then, as I was looking out my airplane window, I saw it. In the crevices of one of the mountains, I could make out a small village, surrounded by these mountains. I looked closer and could see how these houses were built into the side of the mountain and could not see any road or path that led into or out of the village. And then, I saw another village in a different valley that appeared to have little to no way to navigate outside of this continuous mountain range.
I saw it. I saw what Jesus was talking about. I saw “the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The promise that Jesus makes in Acts 1:8 is that “… you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
I have not been able to forget the image of seeing these villages that most likely had little to no access to the gospel. The opportunity to clearly see what Jesus was talking about from 35,000 feet in the air changed my perspective of what it means to share the gospel with a world that needs to hear about Jesus.
As young adult and college ministry leaders, I’m convinced that we must challenge the young adults and college students in our ministries to take seriously the call to be messengers of the gospel to a world who has not heard about Him—from the people next door at their apartment complexes to the people in those villages in the Himalayas.
One aspect of young adult and collegiate ministry that I absolutely love is when young adults and college students fully embrace what it means to be a follower of Jesus because that’s when they take seriously the call that Jesus has upon their lives. And they are just crazy enough to be the ones to trek through the mountains to take the gospel to people who have never heard the message of Jesus before. We can’t miss that opportunity to help them see the URGENCY of the gospel for all people.
Here are a few suggestions for fostering a consistent emphasis on being a SENT community of believers within your young adult or collegiate ministry:
- Pray for people who don’t know Jesus.
The busyness of life can blind us from thinking about those who do not have a relationship with Jesus. Within your small group settings, make it a frequent practice to take time to pray specifically for people who are not Christians. Pray for them to hear the gospel. Pray for people to be intentional about sharing the gospel with them. Pray for a movement of God in areas of the world that have very few Christians.
- Volunteer together.
There is no better way to develop a missional mindset within a group than to serve together. However, within these settings, make sure that you continue to emphasize and look for opportunities to share the gospel with the people you’re serving. Cleaning a yard, serving a meal, or sorting clothes are all important and necessary, but never neglect the opportunity to share the gospel with those we are serving. When we serve as a group, it is encouraging to know that others are praying for the individual hearing the gospel when we share it.
- Encourage them to go.
Take the time to present opportunities to serve in international mission opportunities where they will have the joy of sharing the gospel with people who have never heard about Jesus. Encourage them to go. Pray that they can’t stop thinking about how God wants to use them to be the feet of Jesus in far off places. Push them to not be comfortable but to be purposeful in how they live their life
Tell them that there are people in that little village in the Himalayan Mountains waiting for them to tell them about Jesus.
Mark Whitt is a collegiate minister with the Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Connect with Mark via Twitter.