If you look at the history of the expansion of missions around the world, it is most often through young people. People in their late teens and early twenties seem to be the age group that God most powerfully uses to create revivals, revolutions and huge movements of the gospel throughout the world. This generation is no different. Each summer, Cru sends thousands of college students on summer missions. Many come back so changed by their experience, that they want to go back and serve even longer overseas.
One of our greatest sending schools in Cal Poly Pomona, here in southern California. Holly has worked closely with that school for well over a decade and has seen hundreds of students go to the World on summer missions, one year stints and even as international campus staff long term. Instead of patting themselves on the back thinking they have sent enough, the staff and students wanted to trust God for even more laborers to be raised up and be sent into the harvest. They just didn’t know how to do it.
So, the campus director invited Holly to facilitate a weekend with 7 students and one intern to pray and problem solve what the main barriers are that hinder students from going on missions. After doing surveys of students, brainstorming, categorizing and praying, our overall assessment was this: If we don’t know God well enough to choose to trust Him by faith, we will stay self focused, not live surrendered lives, which will hinder us from going on mission. As we tackled this a little bit deeper we saw that there were 3 main barriers within this:
1. Our Heart: I will not go on mission because my plans and desires are more important to me than God’s Great Commission.
2. Our Fears: I will not go on mission because I feel inadequate and unequipped to further God’s Global Kingdom.
3. Our Embracing Cultural Christianity: I will not go on mission because pleasing man is more important than pleasing Jesus, and following the world’s definition of success is more appealing than following God’s pursuit of the nations.
We saw the main motivator for students to consider going on global missions to be when they hear and experience how the power of the gospel has and continues to change lives around the world.
After we came to these conclusions, we prayed through tactics the students could implement in the next year that would help decrease these barriers and increase the motivator of hearing stories of transformed lives. Quite a few ideas were totally “God moments” of revelation that we believe can help send hundreds of more believers overseas. One such moment was when one of the engineering majors explained that not only is Cal Poly Pomona an engineering school, but their global partnership with India is to schools that also have an engineering focus. Why not find a way to create an official, credible partnership where we can be sending engineering majors to India for a summer or a year and have it be a resume worthy internship, while also training them how to be missional overseas? Two engineering students were in this brainstorming time and were willing to take on the task to talk to their engineering department as well as the universities in India to get a valid internship started as early as this coming summer.
Please pray for these 7 students as they now go back with a well prayed through and thought out strategic plan to help the students in their ministry really wrestle with these barriers and consider what their own hearts, fears, and cultural christianity assumptions are.
May we not forget Jesus’ words in Luke 10:2, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Will you please join us in praying toward that end?
Together for His Kingdom and glory,