News, Views & Reviews
Scripture memorization plays a vital role in the personal growth of a mature believer and should not be neglected. I first came to know the Lord when I was in Junior High and was quickly discipled by my youth pastor. Each week, he asked me to memorize a verse off a packet he had typed up for me with verses that he claimed you need to know as a follower of Christ. Memorization at that point in my life was more of a challenge than a joy. This discipline went to the wayside in college until I became a Campus Missionary Intern and was challenged to memorize close to fifteen verses a semester. Little did I know that mindset of scripture memorization as a have to would become a true and utter joy.
In my time as a CMI, I've learned that your ability or want to memorize God's word is a direct reflection of your desire to want to grow in the Lord. Psalm 119: 11 mentions the idea of "hiding His word on your heart so that you will not sin against Him." My utmost ambition in life is to jump for joy in the Lord like David did. I desire that close intimacy that he had. Scripture memory has helped fuel that desire. Not only am I reading God's word, but I am implementing it as an active part of my daily life. It helps me experience "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding." Does scripture memorization play an active part in your ability to find rest in the Lord? Our desire to grow in the Lord is reflected in our ability to memorize His word.
What's made this even more joyful is seeing this become contagious to the young men that I disciple on a weekly basis. They have become my accountability group. One of my students, Jesus Cruz, memorized close to an entire chapter in 1 Chronicles. None of this was done out of a have to, but out of pure joy in his heart. Hiding God's word in his heart has become a discipline of joy in his personal growth with the Lord.
Hunter Fountain is Campus Missionary Intern for Texas BSM at Stephen F Austin State University.
Remember Bible drill? How many of those verses do you still know? Probably several of them. They were imprinted on your heart as you memorized them during those childhood years. Unfortunately many Christians stop memorizing scripture when they grow up, but scripture memory isn't just for kids. It's an important part of discipleship.
The Navigators Topical Memory System is an excellent comprehensive resource for scripture memory, complete with systematized instruction, verses for memory by category, and scripture memory cards. This resource would be an excellent starting point for students who are just beginning the spiritual discipline of scripture memory.
I confess. I began memorizing scripture long before there was "an app for that!” In fact, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a Bible concordance!
For me it began as a new believer my junior year in college, as I read my Bible, it seemed as though there verses on every page that I wanted to remember. And simply underlining them wasn’t enough. Instinctively, I began to write those verses on little cards, carry the cards in my pocket, and memorize them. Little did I know that I was practicing an age-old, Jewish tradition.
My old-fashioned practice of memorizing verses was affirmed over and again as I observed other Christians I admired who didn’t have to read verses out of the Bible when they spoke. They simple quoted them! Our Campus Missionary Intern at SFA taught us the Bridge Illustration, quoting each of the verses by memory. As she did so I remember how differently those verses sounded as she shared them from her heart. That day I made a commitment to the Lord to memorize scripture for the rest of my life.
I was totally content just to have those verses in my heart, but the surprise was how often I had the opportunity to share them with others. I hadn’t anticipated that blessing. My friend and mentor, Max Barnett, said, “I wouldn’t trade the verses I memorized in college for six million dollars.” How long since you had something you wouldn’t trade for six million dollars?
In our training for BSM Campus Missionary Interns we ask them to come to orientation with 15 verses down pat, with the hope that they'll continue the discipline... for the rest of their lives. A few doddle with the assignment, but oh, some really get hooked! And those who do enlist their students to do the same. Some have their leadership teams memorize entire chapters, and some memorize complete books of the Bible! We all agree that this could digress to a legalistic exercise and become a source of pride, but when we do it "as unto the Lord" He uses those verses to do surgery on our hearts and continually makes them new. I think it's worth the risk.
Robert Hooker is Evangelism Counsultant for Texas BSM.
How intentional are you about using social media? Maybe you use it regularly, but are you using it intentionally? Students are online, but what is the best way to engage them and model values for them when it comes to social media?
1. Ask your students what social media platforms they are using. If you're not intentional, you may be missing your target. It varies from year to year and from campus to campus. Many students are not on Facebook anymore. They have moved on to Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, and some are more likely to engage in a "group me" that sends text alerts to their phones. Don't assume, ask. Then pick a few platforms to spend focused attention on.
2. Post regularly. Sometimes it's difficult to remember to post on your page, or to send out a tweet, but more regular posting means more consistent engagement with your social media platform. Use sites that help you set up and schedule posts, like Hootsuite.com, Buffer.com, or if you have a Facebook page, you can schedule when you want posts to go out. Set aside an hour to enter content that you want students to see then schedule them so your day fragmented trying to post new material. Pay attention to key times that students are online, and schedule accordingly.
3. Plan for content. There will always be articles and posts that you want to share on the spot, but plan ahead for what you want your group to see. Share scripture and follow ups to recent studies you have been doing together. Promote upcoming events. Post pictures of your group to help prospects get an idea of what your group does. Recruit students to contribute posts, pictures and scriptures.
4. Model boundaries. Probably goes without saying, but, if you're challenging your students to limit their time on social media, you should too. Do your students see you posting late at night? Constantly during the day? Set a good example by limiting your own time, and let them know ahead of time when you are not accessible.
5. Realize the limitations of social media. Social media can be a great tool for sharing information, even connecting to some degree, but it cannot do everything. Make social media one of several touch points that students will receive from your group. There is no substitute for face to face time with a student, a personal phone call invite from another student, or even a handwritten note.
Students and leaders from the college ministry at University Heights Baptist Church in Huntsville, as a part of Sports Reach Texas, traveled to a detention center in Waco, TX in November. College ministry leader Travis Henderson shares about their experience.
This was our first trip to this privately operated co-gender facility which housed county inmates and federal detainees. Like any trip to a new facility, there was some apprehension about how the day would play out. That quickly dissipated when Warden Richard Alford met us in the parking lot. Warden Alford informed us that there were 175 females housed at the facility that day and his goal was for all 175 of the women to hear the gospel. Our girls quickly accepted the challenge.
During this trip, a large group of our girls headed for the recreation yard to play volleyball and share the gospel to larger groups. A smaller group went with a correctional officer to housing areas to share the gospel and invite the women out to the recreation yard. Warden Alford escorted three of us to administrative segregation to share the gospel with eight women housed there.
The first girl we got to share with accepted Christ! It was amazing watching someone come to faith through a solid metal door. Steel doors and locks cannot stop God’s word! The volleyball player’s and other girls with them had great success in sharing the Good News. We had 22 women accept Christ that day! They had a great time playing volleyball, sharing the Word, but most of all making new friends and praying together.
A week or so later, the Warden called again and asked if we would be interested in coming back to do baptisms. Of course we were excited about the opportunity! On January 7th, 2017, we loaded up and headed back to Waco. The first number of women that we heard who wanted to be baptized was 28. By the next week it was in the 30’s, but when we arrived there were 48 women wanting to be baptized. Big thanks to Barbara, a sweet volunteer that goes on a weekly basis to minister to these ladies and helped us get the baptisms set up.
We met in a hallway in the booking area and had a time of worship and God’s word. There was a horse trough set up in the middle of the hallway for the baptisms. It was an amazing sight to see women lined up to get baptized. While they were waiting, our girls prayed, laughed and cried with them. Before being baptized, we got to visit with them individually to make sure they understood the gospel and the significance of baptism. The 48 baptisms took place in the hall with cheers, tears and smiles. After the baptisms, we had a birthday party in the chapel to celebrate their new birth in Christ that included cookies, cake and punch. During this time we were able to visit and encourage our new sisters in Christ.
There was also a woman under psychiatric watch who had just found out that she received a life sentence and will likely die in prison. She was suicidal and under direct observation. They had taken her clothes away and given her a paper robe so she would not use the clothing to hang herself. She had ripped up her robe and was in the cell naked. She was beating on the door and hitting her head on the door and wall.The warden looked at me and told the assistant warden to find a girl with us named Emily, one that had been with us in psych on the previous trip. Emily walked up to the small glass in the door and talked to this distraught lady. After about two minutes, she stopped beating on the door. Emily talked to her for an hour, sharing hope, the love of our Savior and prayer. It was AMAZING, this poor lady was out of control, and God used a college student to calm the situation. God is so good. This was a unique trip. We were able to see the fruits from our previous trip and encourage this group of offenders to continue living a life of faith.
Photos contributed by Libby Rogers.
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Many of the photos circulating on the web have a copyright, and there are companies and legal entities searching for organizations that are violating copyright laws by using unauthorized copyrighted material. Several ministries and churches have already faced legal action from these groups. Here are some options to help you avoid a copyright violation.
It never occurred to me that I might find someone else who had led dozens of trips, and learned from them that first year. And years later, as I talk to college leaders around the country, I am still learning and hearing great ideas. So, if this is your first or fortieth trip, here are a few ideas gathered from the field of college ministry.
I didn't become a follower of Jesus Christ until my sophomore year of college. I thought I was "Christian enough" by claiming I had a personal relationship with Jesus and going to church every Sunday. It turns out that I was the epitome of the American Christian and didn't actually know what the Gospel was or even the significance of Christ dying for me. After being introduced to our college ministry, the Holy Spirit convicted me and opened my eyes to see that I wasn't representing Christ, but actually hindering others to see who Christ really is.
The Great Commission was a foreign concept to me that only applied to "those who were called" to go overseas. It turns out that everyone is actually called to go everywhere, and I'm not excluded from obeying this. The first time I was lead to pursue international missions was at Collegiate Week in Glorieta, NM in 2013. It wasn't really a "leading" as much as a "pushing" by the Holy Spirit because I was not compliant to go, and I was afraid of what the future had in store for international missions. But God is sovereign and His will be done!
Fast forward to July of 2015. I was applying to go to East Asia for Christmas. I was a broke college student who asked friends, family, and strangers to provide means for me to go overseas. I wouldn't necessarily say God "called" me to go to this country; I would say that he didn't prohibit me from going. This should be our mindset when pondering the question, "where is God calling me to go?" He provided, through friends and family, the means in which I could travel to Asia. Part of the international mission experience is preparing to leave, not the trip itself. There's an immense joy that comes when meditating on the fact that you can be the means God uses to bring someone to salvation through the Gospel in a country where it's forbidden. There is great joy when you are forced to rely on Him to not only provide, but to pull you through situations that aren't necessarily "safe". There's also an unmatched joy when we get out of our American bubble and experience the diversity of God's creation while sharing His mission with other like-minded believers.
I've got to admit, when I was in Asia the food tasted weird, it was polluted, and it was extremely difficult to break under the superficial mindset of Asian university students. I had never felt more inadequate to share the Gospel to strangers, and at times I wanted to say it was a waste of $3,000. But God, and his unfailing faithfulness, was able to use me and my team to bring 11 students to be saved in under 2 weeks. It was extremely humbling and powerful to see the diversity of our group work in different ways to interact with the students there and to be able to share Jesus. Some of us played sports, others would go shopping, and others would eat. It doesn't require skill to go overseas and share the Gospel.
My initial thought after the trip was that I wanted to go home and eat Chick-fil-a and some chocolate. I was uncomfortable in Asia the entire time, and I got homesick after two weeks of being gone. I'm not saying that it's easy to go overseas, but it is definitely worth it! I've made lifelong friends who were on our team from different states and they're going back this year to spread the meaning of Christmas again and to follow up with those who accepted Christ. This trip has been an affirmation to my pursuit in long term international missions in the near future!"
This is Lauren's story. Her experience changed her perspective and changed the lives of those she encountered on mission. Who might you challenge to serve this summer?
Find all of the information about Go Now Missions at http://gonowmissions.com/.
Share your missions stories with us on our Facebook page.
You've mapped out your plan for discipling students, but have you included missions in your plan? Being on mission is central to living out the Christian faith, and short term mission opportunities can help students develop those values for a lifetime. Go Now Missions, the TexasBaptist sending organization for students, is a great resource to help your students experience life on mission.
Matt, a student from UMHB wrote about his experience last summer in South Asia, "I was then convicted with the thought, 'If I have loved them this much after two weeks, how much more so does their father in heaven love them? If my heart is this broken for their lostness after just two weeks, how much more so is the heart of their father in heaven broken for His lost children.' At this moment I finally realized God's heart for the nations."
How are students appointed? Your local churchcan be the sending agent for your students. Go Now is for both Baptist Student Ministries and local churches. Have students fill out the application, then your church can do the local interview and recommendation for that student. That means that you as their college leader can help find the right fit for their mission experience.
Who can serve? Go Now has a variety of opportunities available. For students who are new to mission trips, there are shorter term trips in which a student serves as a part of a mission team. More experienced students may benefit from a longer term trip with a more challenging assignment. For a student called to missions, a 10 week opportunity could be a great way for them to experience life on the mission field. There are a multitude of ministry assignments. Students can find ministries that fit their gifting or even their major. Find the summer list here.
How long do students serve? 10 weeks to 10 days. Some students have to work during the summer. A 10 day trip could be a great fit time wise and still make a lasting impact on their lives. 10 week assignments give students the opportunity to serve for a long term on the field. Some students start by serving on a 10 day team, then by the next year they are ready for a longer term of service.
How do we get started? Have your students explore the lists at http://gonowmissions.com/positions.
Find all of the information about Go Now Missions at http://gonowmissions.com/.
Share your missions stories with us on our Facebook page.
Growing Young from Fuller Youth Institute is one of those! We have all heard the statistics about the decline in church attendance in the 18-30 age bracket. Multiple resources have addressed the trends in declining attendance and faith practice in this age demographic. Growing Young is a refreshing look at churches who are bucking the trend and are doing well at reaching and engaging young adults in church and in their faith.
Kara Powell, Jake Mulder and Brad Griffin have combined a broad range of research with a variety of case studies and stories from 250 churchesaround the U.S. These stories highlight what is working with young adults in these churches. And they are not all large churches, hip churches or churches next to college campuses. "For young people today, relational warmth is the new cool."* This book offers something for ever church. Growing Young is designed to help you find solutions that fit your church for reaching young adults in your community.
You will also want to check out the website: http://churchesgrowingyoung.com/ for more information on the project and the resulting research. There is also an online assessment tool to help your church discover how well you are doing connecting with young adults. We recommend you put Growing Young on your Christmas list or give it to leaders in your ministry this year!
*Growing Young, Powell, Mulder, & Fuller, Baker Books, 2016, p.26.
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