Go and Make Disciples

Every fall we start the school year with several retreats for our leaders and a series of welcoming events for the freshmen.  Before these happen, though, we spend most of the month of August preparing and equipping ourselves to for the back-to-school rush.  For the last 3 years we have attended the Willow Creek Leadership Summit at a satellite location in Virginia Beach.  The summit is a 2 day conference for those serving in ministry leadership and features speakers from both the Christian and secular workplace.

This past August one of the speakers was Chuck Colson, famous for his involvement in the Watergate scandal and his dedicated ministry to prison inmates.  In his talk, Colson highlighted several ideas from his new book “The Faith”.  Through his message, the Lord affirmed the vision we had planned to communicate to our students come September—the idea that Christ calls us to go and make not just converts, but disciples.

Although we strive to proclaim the gospel and see students become Christians, we don’t want people to convert and then be left high and dry.  One of our favorite things about InterVarsity is its commitment to teaching students how to grow and mature in their faith.  Many students who become involved in our fellowship are true believers who have had a conversion experience in the past, but have never been equipped with the tools to grow in their faith.  They believe in Christ as their Savior, but have never really given Him total control of their life, and they feel lost when it comes to reading Scripture and being in daily relationship with God.  Our utmost desire is to equip and train these students so they grow into true disciples — students who know Christ not just as Savior but also as Lord of their life, and who daily pursue knowing God better and having Him prune them by the Spirit as they grow unto spiritual maturity.

So much of our ministry has to do with helping students see their  relationship with God accurately.  Is Christianity just about repenting and committing your life to God one-time, or is it about turning to Christ again and again every day?  At the leadership summit, Colson reminded us that “the one test of leadership is to serve your troops, by doing 3 things: training and equipping them, giving them a bigger vision, and giving them one instruction repeatedly — Christ’s call to ‘Follow Me.’”  The majority of our time on a weekly basis is spent meeting with students to do these 3 things.  We train them to read and interpret Scripture.  We equip them to answer the hard questions about their faith.  We give them the bigger vision that life IS ministry, and ministry IS relationship with those around them. We remind them of the most important instruction—to follow Christ daily.Colson closed his message by asking two simple questions.  “What is Christianity?” and “What does it rest on?”

 Although we field many tough questions from students (How do I know the Bible is true?  Why is there evil in the world?  How do I really fight sin in my life?) you’d think these two would be basic knowledge.  Yet Colson noted that only 1% of Christians could correctly answer them!  This shows how must of us are satisfied with just being converts–   believing, but not knowing even basic things about what we believe.  Pray for us as we pass on the vision of being true disciples who seek to grow in knowledge, wisdom, and faith, and, as Colson says, “contend for the faith entrusted to the saints once for all.” 

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