It has a reputation for being a thankless investment: the church pours money into a ministry with little to no return. Many students don’t return tithe. If they do, it isn’t much. They consume. They consume a lot–potluck food, church electricity, funds to attend retreats and conferences. In the end, they graduate and leave to another city, state, or country.
This is one of the reasons Public Campus Ministry in the Seventh-day Adventist Church has been neglected by so many.
If only all would see what few are privileged to behold daily: faithful students successfully struggling to prioritize God above studies; dedicated Adventist young people sharing their faith with future leaders from around the world; Adventists sharing a timely message with the crumbling world around them. This is what Adventist Campus Ministry should be and is on many public campuses around the world.
Students on public university campuses are not only reaching their friends, they are impacting local churches by faithfully attending services and participating in church outreach activities. They are hosting weekly small group Bible studies: feeding their follow classmates with literal and spiritual food. They are inviting their friends to take Christ seriously, search the Scriptures and align their lives with timeless principles from the Word of God. They are missionaries preaching the Adventist message in concrete jungles where world mission comes to US soil. They are yearning to fit in the Adventist church now and in the future. Some of them will continue to go strong, but unnoticed. Others may become presidential candidates. Some will end up working for the church. Most will have a huge temporal and eternal impact like Daniel, Joseph, and Esther. The most important thing for our church to recognize is that it needs to invest in them now.
With regret, we talk about the missing young people. What about the non-missing? They are speaking to us. If we are willing to listen, we will realize that they are all around, waiting for the church to see that they are packing out local churches, our few Adventist on-campus centers, and retreat centers and camps with their seeking friends. I hope we will listen and act now.
Public University Students and local members pack a church during a Collegiate Sabbath
Pastor Justin Kim shares a powerful message on Ps. 139 and the God who sees and knows everything
Student Missionary Jermaine Gayle shares his faith
Pastor Andy Im teaches students how to conduct small group Bible studies — the CAMPUS House has been packed with dedicated students on a weekly basis
Pastor Israel Ramos teaches missionaries the importance of meeting the needs of others – Christ’s method alone
Student Missionary Nichole Dyjasek teaches the Bible to an international student