While carrying out His ministry on earth, Jesus repeatedly sent His disciples into the world to preach the good news (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 10:1; John 17:18; Acts 1:8). According to Jesus, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Luke 10:2). Certainly, those of us who work with college students understand this reality. The opportunities for harvest are vast and yet, the task to reach the harvest is too big for any one of us. We must equip and lead our students to reach their campuses. But how?
TEACH THE GOSPEL
The reason we prioritize the harvest is simple. The gospel really is good news for ALL people. Our students must understand the importance of the gospel, from our regular times of preaching and teaching to our prioritizing of evangelism training. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”
Immediately after speaking of the harvest, Jesus charges His disciples, “Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (v. 2). Prayer is the fuel to our evangelism. We go in the power of God to speak the Word of God. Organize times of prayer with students. Pray for your college campus. Pray for college ministries. Pray for college students. As you and your students pray, the need will become clearer.
SET THE EXAMPLE
Encourage more students to be evangelistic by giving them an example to follow. Even the apostles were sent out in pairs! Be on university campuses yourself and bring students with you. Give them a time that you’ll be on campus every week and invite them to join you. Encourage other students to make public when they will do intentional outreach. Create a group page or text thread where students can share success stories and prayer requests (e.g. “Pray for me and my upcoming meeting. I’m going to meet with Tom at 3PM.”)
Don’t limit students by giving them a “one size fits all” evangelistic method. I’ve been around students who are bold to simply walk up to strangers and begin sharing the gospel. I’ve been around other students who prefer to use a method to begin a conversation (henna evangelism, surveys, Soularium, handing out flyers, gospel appointments, etc). I want to say “yes” when students ask for resources they want to use in sharing the gospel. It may not be my preferred method*, but I rejoice in the gospel being shared!
May we rejoice because the gospel is advancing on university campuses across the country, not because of a few select men and women, but because of the mobilization of thousands of college students from our local churches!
*In my context, I begin most gospel conversations on campus by handing out one of our ministry business cards and then, asking, “Have you ever heard of our ministry?” and “Do you have a religious background?” This approach has often led to great gospel conversations.