Would Jesus Show Up At Your School?
The campus is where life makes up its mind.
By Chuck Klein | Campus Alliance | San Diego, California
Have you ever wondered what hanging out with Jesus would have been like? Imagine following Him around and hearing Him talk. What if He would have walked by a school and observed all the students there – what would He have done?
Jesus was, and is, all about people. His core purpose was obvious: “I have come to seek and save the lost.” What did He mean by “lost”? He was referring to the spiritual condition of people—lost with no relationship with their Creator, lost in purpose, lost in direction, and most seriously, lost forever. Jesus’ heart beat for lost people.
Where people gathered, Jesus would show up.
Fast-forward to the present and we can be confident that Jesus, by His Spirit, is indeed hanging out at, you guessed it, the school campus.
Think about it. Where are most teenagers Monday through Friday from August through June? They’re at school! The high school and middle school campuses are at the core of what’s happening in the youth culture. It’s at the core of our communities. It’s the marketplace for teens. It is where the exchanging of ideas, the forming of values, and the shaping of lives take place. The campus is where life makes up its mind.
And think about this: the campus is the last time everyone under 18 years of age will be together in one location. After high school they scatter in a thousand different directions, which makes the task of connecting with them more difficult. As teenagers they are still at an age of unusual responsiveness to the Gospel. Think of students who would be changed by the Gospel if we would just team up with Jesus at every school!
If this is a passion that grabs your heart, a good starting point is to adopt your school. Adopting a school essentially means getting involved – serving, caring, and reaching out. It involves introducing students to the One who created them and invited them into the family. (Learn more about adopting your school at everyschool.com. That is the place to glean campus ministry ideas, hear stories, and find resources.)
One of the biggest fears that the Enemy has perpetrated among Christians is the fear of talking about Jesus with others, especially students, and of all places at school. Isn’t that interesting? To a teenager he might say, “Don’t talk about Jesus with your friends – it’s too risky!” Or to a youth leader he might say, “Don’t focus on the schools; that’s not appropriate.” Yet, inside their minds and hearts many students are asking questions about God that no one is answering. Satan is strategic, and he is clever.
But, his resources don’t begin to match those of Jesus Christ. That is why Jesus so clearly tells His disciples that when His power is in us we will be a witness to His greatness. Doing so only requires our initiative – He provides the ability.
Taking the initiative to adopt a school as your mission field is important and it’s strategic. God called you to have a spiritual influence. Your purpose is not static, it’s dynamic. It is beyond what happens at your church on Sundays or at youth group. Your purpose is 24/7. And since teenagers spend such a huge portion of their waking hours at school, then the school is where your influence is most dynamic.
You may or may not have the opportunity to go on campus at the school(s) in your community. If you can, serve the school well. Take every opportunity to meet and interact with students. They have needs that you can help meet. Most likely your opportunity to share Christ will be off campus. Take hold of those opportunities with sensitivity and confidence. That may be the one chance that a student has to really talk about a relationship with God.
Equipping your students ranks right at the top of your list as a youth leader. Christian teenagers deserve the chance to be trained in how to talk about their faith in Christ and have meaningful spiritual conversations with their friends. Search for good training materials and opportunities for your students. Developing great followers of Jesus requires teaching them how to bring others to Jesus. The relationships they have at school are the natural environment for them to share.
Would Jesus show-up at your school? He’s already there, every day, by His Spirit. Join Him. There is not a more strategic ministry in all society. Campus ministry may stretch you, but be assured that the rewards are staggering.
Chuck Klein has been working with students on campuses for, well, a long time. He gives leadership to the Campus Alliance, a coalition of organizations and denominations that share the vision of a ministry to every student and school. To contact Chuck, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.