Etched onto a bathroom stall door at Rutgers University is one of the most heinous concepts I’ve ever read: “Satan is god of the public schools.” Although there is no God other than the Lord Jesus, satan wants to be god in our schools. The Bible says he “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” And on a Jersey college campus, it seems he is the loudest.
Colleges are dark. There are innumerable ways students are pulled away from God. Here are a few.
– Other worldviews. Atheism, Islam, passivity, etc. are all enemies of Jesus. Damaris, one of our student leaders at Seton Hall, was picked on all of the fall 2014 semester by an atheist professor.
– The party scene. At Montclair State, every Thursday night is called “Thirsty Thursdays,” because this is a huge party night. Students gather in dorms or go out and drink till their heart’s content. It’s genuinely a sad scene, seeing droves going to satisfy themselves with alcohol.
– Sexual freedom. So many college students think sex satisfies the soul. Casual sex is often seen as harmless as a handshake. This is tragic. There was one student (who I won’t name) that rejected the gospel after I shared it with him. Not because he disagreed with it. Not because it wasn’t true. But because he did not want to wait for sex.
– Busyness. College teaches you to work hard. Really hard. There are dozens of clubs and classes to take. Many students work to pay off their degree. At NJCU, one of our student members decided to take on the challenge of over-filling his plate. He eventually burnt out and the first thing to go was his relationship with Jesus.
There is no question that our schools are spiritually dark. BUT WE SERVE A RISEN SAVIOR AND KING, JESUS!
It is easy to sit back and judge the people in the above scenarios and forget about colleges as a lost cause, but Jesus has not. And he has empowered a whole army of Jersey college students and staff to reach out into the darkness with the kindness of God.
Jesus was all about going into dark places and being bright! He came to seek and save the lost. With over 550,000 college students in Jersey, there is a plentiful harvest of souls to reach with the brightest message on earth: the gospel, that God will forgive our sins and darkness through the actions of JESUS.
So, while our schools are dark, here are some stories of how bright Jesus is:
– In the same class where Damaris was picked on, she chose to continue sharing the love of God. And on one occasion while being mocked, her classmates actually stood up for her! Pray our students continue being bold for Christ!
– At Seton Hall, our Cru movement has merged with another independent Christian bible study (pictured above), led by a student named Jeremiah Rodriguez. For 2 years I’ve known about his group and have been praying for a merge! And now God has done it. At our first merger meeting, Jeremiah brought out over 10 new students. Most of whom are NOT Christians, but want to support their friend. They all were exposed to the light of Jesus. Pray God keeps them coming!
– January 30-31, we had our spring planning summit (picture of me speaking there left)! Over 60 student leaders from schools all over the state prayed for their campuses, sought Jesus and planned their outreach for the rest of the semester!
– “Sometime” is a personal evangelism method where we as staff and students email/text/message a non-Christian, asking if they would be interested in meeting “sometime” to share what they believe about spiritual things and to share our faith. Montclair State student, Jeffrey, met his friend Nick, and was able to share the gospel with him face to face. He even came to a weekly Cru meeting, where he was exposed to genuine Christian community. Pray Nick comes to Jesus.
– This spring break, our statewide ministry is hosting Campus Blitz 2015. We ask students who are on break to go to Jersey schools that are not, and blitz them with the love of Christ. New Jersey City Univ. will be blitzed on March 17! We’re praying that through it more leaders would be surfaced and of course more students would come to Jesus!
College ministry in Jersey is thrilling. It truly is. There is no other job Jenn and I could see ourselves doing. It’s also strategic as we are reaching the world’s future leaders. WOO! Praise God! Thank you all for your continued support. Sorry for the fast-paced and info-filled update. Just so excited for JESUS!