Ever watched your team win the championship when you are the only one in the room who cares? I have. It was 2005, and UNC was playing Illinois. I lived in Middle Tennessee, and had to suffer through Kentucky basketball games anytime there was a Raycom conflict that season.
The day of the championship game I had two bible studies scheduled. So I had the guys from both of them over to my place, we brought in a projector, and watched the game projected on a wall in my house. Everyone in the room watched the game, but they were far more interested in watching me watch the game.
There was something about winning it all that was less satisfying than I had imagined. Part of the joy of celebrating is celebrating with others. I jumped up and down and even ran down my street waving a Tar Heel flag, but it still wasn’t the same.
That’s what the third and final word in our organizational DNA is all about. “Send.” We want to send students and faculty around the world to gather up more people to celebrate with them, not because it is some sinister plot to take over the world, but because we’ve found something we enjoy, and we want others to enjoy it alongside us.
Sending should be something that, if we’ve properly built into the students, happens naturally. Once a student gets the taste in their mouth of God using them, it’s tough to get it out. That’s what propelled me literally around the world to tell others about Christ. I found something worth celebrating, namely that Jesus had paid for all of my sin, and wanted others to find the same reason to party.
The thing that differentiates this missions model from others is that it’s really messy. We will send a junior in college, with no formal seminary education, to a remote city in Asia to share with others about Christ. Does it always end well? Absolutely not. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post on building, we focus on one or two things, and do them well. We would rather take steps of faith and have to go behind students and clean up the mess than to always play it safe. And we believe in a sovereign God.
What I have seen in my 7 years of campus ministry is that students are far more effective at reaching students than I am, no matter how trained or untrained they are. My job is to find Johnny Freshman and build into him in such a way as to give him the vision to reach his classmates. That transition normally doesn’t take place until at least his fourth semester. But once it does, I get to watch as a person with far more “street cred” than I reaches out to his peers.
My favorite thing in the world (after Jesus’ life and my wife’s smile) is seeing students catch on, and make the turn from being a consumer in their faith to being an active participant in the Great Commission.
Like having a Heel-by-marriage wife to celebrate another Carolina championship 4 years later, Jesus wants us to enjoy him, and call others into that enjoyment.