Evangelism is not an optional accessory to our life. It is the heartbeat of all we are called to be and do.
– Robert Coleman in Master Plan of Evangelism
College campuses are an immense mission field. Each campus has a unique culture, diverse values, intricate social structures and even their own languages. These campuses, like any unreached people group, have tremendous needs for followers of Jesus to make evangelistic connections and share the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.
For decades, Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM) — on the campus of the University of South Alabama (USA) and around the state of Alabama — has planted workers on college campuses to reach the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
BCM has developed strategies to connect Christian workers and students with collegians to engage the campus with the Gospel. BCM has consistently approached the campus as a vast mission field and has boldly proclaimed the Gospel in those places.
Ellisa is a USA student from Huntsville. She has been actively growing in her faith in the past few years while in college through BCM and in her local church. She sees her campus as her mission field.
She understands that our mission as Christians “is to love God and love others. The more we seek the Lord and know Him, the more we love His people and make disciples.”
Here is what we have discovered: The best strategy for reaching collegians on this vast mission field is one college student reaching another college student.
This is the biblical model: disciples making disciples.
Cass, a sophomore at USA and a growing disciple, puts it this way: “The Lord has drawn me closer to Him this year, showing me more and more how good and gracious He is. As He continues drawing me closer to Him and His awesomeness, He gives me the desire to share that with other people.”
This is why growing disciples is so important. We desire for every Christian student to transition into vibrant growth as a collegiate disciple. We desire to see students embrace their faith in Christ as their own, take responsibility for the own growth as a Christian and mature as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
We invest in this growth on the college campus and invite Christian students into these types of growth relationships. We want to see a movement of collegiate disciples who make disciples.
Many see discipleship simply as a self-focused discipline: “I need to grow in my faith. I need to pray more. I need to study the Word more. I need to worship more.” Kyle, who just finished his freshman year at USA, shared that he didn’t fully grasp his purpose as a disciplemaker when he started college.
Maybe we all miss that part of the disciple life at one time or another. What we miss is that the outward parts of our faith are an essential part of discipleship as well.
A disciple who does not make disciples is missing an important part of their maturity as a disciple. The disciple prays, worships and reads the word, but he also makes other disciples.
That’s what it means to be a mature disciple. Discipleship without evangelism is an incomplete discipleship.
So where does this leave us? For those of us seeking to impact the college campus mission field (or any mission field), we must begin to see investment in making disciplemakers as an investment in making disciples. Every believer can turn around and point someone to Jesus. We want to grow, equip and call out those believers as disciplemakers. We want those disciples to see making disciples of others as an irrefutable part of what it means to be a disciple.
Making disciples who make disciples is more than just suggesting that a disciple should tell others about Jesus. To make disciples who make disciples is to invest heavily in growing, building and equipping the disciple towards the goal of making, or reproducing, more disciples.
It’s modeling that kind of disciplemaking. It’s mobilizing those disciplemakers by placing them in places to make disciples. It’s developing, exploring and helping them recognize opportunities to make disciples. This is what we do on the USA campus.
No matter the mission field that we find ourselves on, it will only be reached by disciples who make disciples.
One collegiate disciple recently noted: “I learned how to share my faith more effectively this past spring break. I loved learning that there are so many ways to share your faith and that finding the way that fits you best is so easy, not to mention it was comforting since I had so many people around me to help me learn.”
This student developed a heart and a method for sharing Jesus in relationship with others who were growing her as a disciple. She is becoming a disciple who makes disciples. Making disciples flows from the lives of disciples.
It is an incredible time to work around and with collegians. We are seeing a generation of students on campus, in our churches and serving through our Baptist Campus Ministries that does not want to simply gather with other believers. They gather to grow and to go!
That is making disciples who make disciples: disciples growing and disciples going to reach others. Disciples growing and disciples going: This is Baptist Campus Ministries.