Shine, Baby, Shine Public University Students Learn to Light Up Their Campuses
Two dozen students from the Pacific Northwest's public universities traveled to Central Washington University (CWU) for Shine NW 2003 to learn to light things up. The one-day series of seminars and outreach activities attracted leaders and students from three states.
The Kittitas County churches and CWU's Adventist student fellowship, Agape Club, hosted the gathering at the Ellensburg, Wash., campus. "We started a club and all kind of questions came to mind," explained John Solomon, local pastor. Three speakers came to answer those questions—John Cress, David Hunter and Doug Venn.
"Students are amazingly open to new ideas and less prejudiced against the idea of God than we would imagine them to be," said Cress, College Church (College Place, Wash.) associate pastor. "Still, they've got all kinds of things competing for their attention."
While group events are useful ways to plant ideas in a large number of people, the one-on-one relationship is critical, Cress said. For most Christians, it was another human being that became their friend and introduced them to Christ. A small group, if it is authentic, can be a great way to meet people and lead them to a relationship with Christ.
Agape Club is moving in that direction, according to Jennifer Tindall, club president and graduate student in education. "We've done some small fun stuff," Tindall said. "The emphasis of the club is changing to include a smaller family community style—getting to know each other, making friendships instead of events....It's about going out and really showing people your heart."
"College students are called the powerful one percent," said Hunter, a campus ministry specialist with the international Campus Crusade for Christ. "If you win that one percent, you can influence the world for Christ." Hunter spoke on how his group reaches that one percent and how to make disciples of them.
"Public campus ministry goes back a ways in this conference," said Richard Parker, Upper Columbia Conference youth director. "I think that we need to pay a lot more attention to the public campus ministry, not only for the Adventist students there, but the non-Adventists. It's a great mission field."
In between lectures, attendees tried some real-world evangelism door-to-door. "Showing God's Love in Practical Ways" was the theme, said Venn, WSU and University of Idaho campus pastor. One hundred nine-volt batteries were given away in minutes. Hundreds of Christian music albums donated by the Upper Columbia Conference were also given away that afternoon.
"At first it was scary, but most of the people were very receptive," said Leah Kelley, a junior business major and the Adventist student group president at Oregon State University.
Kelley said she learned what her club could do and made contacts with other campus ministry leaders. She plans to return next year. "I would encourage people to think about public campus ministry more because there's a lot of people to be reached," she said.