He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32

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Monday, June 21, 2010 

Students & Global Evangelization

How do we communicate the gospel via the means of college students serving as missionaries (in BOTH North America and throughout the world)?

1) We need to cast the vision before college students to obtain marketable skills and degrees to be used in the global marketplace, while they simultaneously labor to share the gospel, plant churches, and raise up/train elders for those churches.

2) We need a vision that involves reaching international students, teaching them to obey all that Jesus commanded, modeling before them a simple, biblical expression of the local church, equipping them, partnering with them, and sending them back to their unreached people groups as scientists, doctors, managers, entrepreneurs, teachers, etc., while they simultaneously labor to share the gospel, plant churches, and raise up/train elders for those churches.

Developing strategies and equipping approaches to carry out these points will involve a missiological shift when it comes to church planting.

We need to move away from believing that tentmaking is for the junior varsity missionaries who are not very committed to the Kingdom. Tentmaking is just as important today as it was in Acts 18; it is just that the evangelical Church does not believe it should be a priority for our church planters. We need to encourage our students to obtain marketable degrees and skills that will not only place them in strategic global positions for Kingdom influence but will also provide a means of financial support.

Providing international students with biblical teaching is a must; providing them with a massive dose of our culturally preferred expressions of Christianity (and equating that with biblical teaching) is not a good thing. We must move beyond the notion of simply reaching internationals with the good news and assimilating them into local church contexts that will not provide them with the necessary missional knowledge and skills that will translate back to their communities in China, India, the Middle East, etc.. We need to reach them, baptize them, and through membership in a local church (even planting churches with them), prepare them for the day when they will graduate and return to their nations, with both a degree in hand and a heart for church planting.

Much of what is modeled in our churches involves cultural preferences that do not connect with many international students (in this country), and will be a hindrance to Kingdom expansion if such students attempt to reproduce it when they return to their people. Remember: we know and reproduce what is modeled before us. So, how is our model that we will impress on these new brothers and sisters from different lands?

- Dr. J.D. Payne

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