There are times in campus ministry when my results-loving heart has a hard time accepting that God uses us to play only a small part in the spiritual journey of a student.
Many times we will not see a new believer grow into a maturing Christian. Intellectually, I know that God uses some to plant, others to water, and He is the one that causes growth; but my heart doesn’t always remember this. Which is why it was so exciting when I ran into a student named Sarah a few weeks ago!
But let’s back up a little first.
Did the gospel bear fruit at St. FX?
Back in January 2013 I traveled with a small team to St. Francis Xavier University (St. FX) in Antigonish, NS to attempt to start a new P2C group on campus.
While we were there I had the opportunity to share the gospel with Sarah after she filled out a spiritual interest questionnaire, indicating that she wanted to talk about Jesus. Upon hearing the gospel and discussing what it meant to make the personal decision to follow Christ, she decided to invite Jesus into her life to be her Lord and Saviour!
Since our team was only planning to be at St. FX for four weeks and we only had two left, Sarah and I began to discuss the basics of her new relationship with Jesus right away. Due to Sarah’s limited availability we were only able to get through two out of the five studies. And even when we did meet, I wasn’t sure if the concepts we were talking about were ‘clicking’ for her.
Before we left the city, I encouraged her to get connected into a church and check out the on-campus fellowship where she could meet other Christians her age.
Although I was trusting God that I was just one part of Sarah’s spiritual journey, I wasn’t very hopeful as I continued to pray for her.
It matters who you are praying to
As I was jumping back into ministry on campus this January, I did so with some hesitancy because I knew that I would be heading back to St. FX to attempt yet another “launch”. Instead of thinking of the incredible impact that Power to Change could have on the campus, I kept thinking about the last time our team was there—and how by human standards, it was pretty much a failure.
We didn’t start a campus group, we lost contact with the students who made decisions to follow Christ and I had lost contact with Sarah. In fact, I wasn’t even sure if she was still a Christian.
Once I arrived at St. FX, I realized very quickly how misplaced my doubts had been.
I had forgotten that I was praying to a God that is sovereign, and who is the Author and Perfecter of our faith. After a very encouraging meeting with the leaders of the only other Christian group on campus, I attended their Friday fellowship service—which is where I saw Sarah!
I couldn’t contain my excitement!
Right when the service ended, I bee-lined it over to her to see how she was doing. She told me that she was very involved in a church, had recently been attending this Friday fellowship, and was planning to move in with a bunch of Christian girls for the next school year.
Here comes the lesson
Seeing Sarah again was a huge encouragement to me, but it also brought a lot of conviction.
It is not enough to know the truths of scripture intellectually, I need to believe them in my heart. I need to fully trust that God is sovereign, the One who causes growth. I need to be praying big prayers for the students with whom I have the privilege of sharing the gospel and who pray to begin a relationship with Jesus—even if I never see them again.
Are you trusting God to work according to His power and purposes?
I want to challenge you to pray in faith because God is continuing to work in the lives of friends, family and students with whom you’ve had spiritual conversations.
I want to challenge you to trust God with the small part (or maybe even a huge part) you are playing in the spiritual journey of the people around you.