Growing up in a Southern Baptist Church I was quite familiar with Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong, and Operation Christmas Child to name a few mission emphases. I experienced two domestic mission trips, and I even knew a few full-time overseas missionaries, but I did not experience overseas missions until I was twenty years old. I grew up with a healthy understanding of the local church, the urgency of the gospel, and the call to make disciples, yet it was not until I spent time overseas that I understood the reality of teaching the gospel to unreached people. As Paul said in Romans 10:14-15, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Missions is central to our understanding of the gospel message. Though the context may look different for each person, we must respond to the call to go and make disciples. Domestic mission trips taught me how to have gospel conversations and to connect people to the local church. As a result, my heart became burdened for overseas missions and for those who do not have local churches available to them. We can absolutely be on mission in our home city, but there are millions of lost people in the world who have never even heard the name Jesus. For that reason alone, I knew I must be obedient and go to the nations. Spending nearly two months overseas in a spiritually dark place taught me that there is work to be done. And more laborers must be sent.
College students have a huge role to play in global missions. They can use their own unique gifting, area of academic study, and desire to make disciples on the mission field. College students can also make good use of their summers. What would it look like for them to tithe one of those summers and dedicate it to global missions? As a ministry leader, encourage students to step outside their comfort zone, to learn about unreached and unengaged people groups, to begin praying for the lost, and to then join in the work by going to these places. We seek to see the gospel advanced on the college campus and throughout the world. When a student has taken part in overseas missions, they recognize the urgency and the need for more laborers. They begin to mobilize their peers, are healthy church members, and seek to advance the gospel in their everyday life. Creating a healthy missions culture is vital to college students recognizing and viewing their own college campus as a mission field to make disciples.