If you are a Seventh-day Adventist student studying on a non-Adventist university campus, you have a unique opportunity. Far more than merely graduating with an expensive piece of paper in your hands, you can be used by God to impact a group of people that is often neglected, grossly underestimated, and hugely important to the cause of Christ. You are part of a missionary group of people where world missions come to you.
Here are five simple and proven–ways to be a successful missionary on your campus without adding much to your already busy schedule (BONDS–makes it easier to remember):
1. Be Involved
“In the story of the good Samaritan, Christ illustrates the nature of true religion. He shows that it consists not in systems, creeds, or rites, but in the performance of loving deeds, in bringing the greatest good to others, in genuine goodness” (Desire of Ages, 497).
Remember that a religion that is not active is not real religion. A religion that is not shared is a religion not worth taking up. A religion that does not impact life is a dead religion.
Ask yourself: What are loving deeds that I can perform for my classmate, a professor, a neighbor, the person that is looking at me right now or the person that is closest to me?
A desire to do something is the first step of becoming a missionary. It means that you are ready to do whatever God impresses upon your heart. Keep in mind that God often impresses us towards action by opening our eyes to the needs of others.
2. Observe Sabbath
This is the model that Ellen White had regarding public campus ministry:
“There are those who, after becoming established, rooted and grounded in the truth, should enter these institutions of learning as students. They can keep the living principles of the truth, and observe the Sabbath, and yet they will have opportunity to work for the Master by dropping seeds of truth in minds and hearts. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, these seeds will spring up to bear fruit for the glory of God, and will result in the saving of souls” (Selected Messages, Book 3, p. 234).
There is a unique power in Sabbath observance in a cut-throat environment where people will study endless hours to gain a small edge over the other classmates. One of the greatest—and perhaps the most foundational—witnessing tools a student can use on a public university is to keep the Sabbath holy. The promise is that God will use this to open up avenues for sharing our personal faith with others and the result will be “the saving of souls.”
The goal of every Adventist student should be to strive for excellence.
3. Nurture Relationships
The purpose of nurturing relationships is to prepare the people for invitations to events and places of spiritual growth (church, Bible study, etc.). Every person, fighting in their own armor, will come up with ideas that fit them personally. Here’s a good way to start:
- Pray that God will lead you to people who have a spiritual inclination (people who have outwardly expressed spiritual interest).
- Pray for them earnestly. At the appropriate time, you can let them know that you have been praying for them and ask if there is something that you can join them in praying for.
- Pray that God will give you ideas to be a blessing to that person. Be a good neighbor.
4. Depend on God
Happiness in anything comes from having Christ in our lives.
“Those who in everything make God first, last, and best are the happiest people in the world” (My Life Today, p. 166).
The fulfillment of our dreams and hopes is all tied to Christ and we must fully realize that nothing can prevent God’s plan in your life from being fulfilled as long as you are trusting in God and believing that He knows best what is for your good. Only total faith in Jesus will give you stability in the academic ups and downs of college life. And only faith in Jesus will propel you to put Him first and your studies second. Although this seems like a great risk, I challenge you to try it!
5. Study Hard
Like in everything else, the formula for success is always Human Effort + Divine Power = Success. If you want to be a successful witness for Christ, you must try your best. Put good quality time into your studies and pray for God to bless your effort. The goal of every Adventist student should be to strive for excellence. Above all others, this power is especially available to those who believe that they have been created in the image of God with infinite possibilities to grow in every facet of life.
You want to excel to be the best that you can be? Here’s the key: “unselfishness underlies all true development” (Education, p. 16). We have been created to be like Jesus. He is the epitome of unselfishness (love is unselfish). To be like Him–to develop as He did while He was our example on earth, we need to exercise unselfishness. Our motives for study must change from studying so that we get a good job so that we make lots of money, to studying really hard because it is a necessary tool in our understanding of our obligation to those around us in the context of the Gospel.
As you incorporate these five simple principles in your school life, you will find a fulfillment that can be experienced in no other way. To be a successful Adventist student on a public campus is to be a missionary–they are the same. My prayer for you is a successful college career!
Israel Ramos is the Associate Director of CAMPUS in Michigan. For more than 13 years he has served as a missionary, pastor, and leader in ministry to secular universities in North America. He and his wife Judy live near East Lansing MI and the home of Michigan State University where they minister to students and young professional families.