The Mission Field On Campus

On April 1, 2013 by Bobby Blakey

Bible In High SchoolMission field.

This phrase is used to describe an area of unreached people who do not know the gospel.  Usually we think of a foreign country on the other side of the world.

Let me encourage you to think of your local high school.

Last week I taught a World Religions class at one of the highest ranked public high schools in Orange County.  This was the third time this teacher has invited me to speak to her class.  Both times previously there were students who ended up coming to our church and investigating Christianity.

This time I gave every student a copy of an ESV paperback Bible and said to turn to page 573 in our textbook.  You might know it as Luke 22.  We read together about the last night of Jesus’ life, about his brutal death on the cross and about his resurrection from the empty tomb.  For many of the 30 students in the class this was the first time they had ever read the Bible.

I explained how this gospel of Jesus is not just something that happened thousands of years ago, but is something that can happen to you.  You can be placed into the death and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 6:3-4) and become a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Your old life will be over like you have died to your sin.  And your new life with Jesus could begin today.

At this point, one of the students from our high school ministry came up and shared her testimony.  She was saved as a freshman at this high school.  She described the sin she used to live in and you could tell many students in the class related to her.  But then she explained how Jesus had changed her life.  She told of losing friends over her faith but how she now has a church family.  She said how concerned she was for everyone in the room who would go to hell for their sins if they did not repent and put their faith in Jesus.  Her boldness grabbed the attention of everyone in the room.

It was like a modern day miracle happened. Those with ADD were suddenly cured! High schoolers were hearing the good news of Jesus!  They were seeing it in this young woman’s life!  This is what had been lacking in their education: the gospel!

Next, we turned to page 396 where we read about a “man of sorrows” who was going to be “pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities.”  The class seemed to agree that this was similar to what we had just read about Jesus dying on the cross.  Yet, many eyebrows raised when they learned Isaiah 53 was written hundreds of years before Jesus was born.  We discussed the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and how we are sure Isaiah was written before the time of Jesus and could not have been changed later.  This is an example of prophecy. Only God could do this!  I encouraged them to consider the Bible not as a book written merely by man, but inspired by God himself!

“Twilight is stupid!”  I said as a transition. I thought one young lady was going to get whiplash from snapping back to attention.  Yes, I think a love triangle between a vampire, a werewolf and a very moody high school girl is stupid.  However, a high school girl once confronted me about saying this.  Had I read the book?  Had I seen the movie?  Then how could I know it was stupid? I thought my common sense was enough on this one, but I had to admit she had a point.  How could I criticize or ignore something I had never even checked out for myself?

I challenged every student in the classroom to make sure they personally looked up the story of Jesus Christ.  If I can’t write off a fictional story without reading it or watching the movie, how could they dismiss someone who actually died for them without even checking it out for themselves?  They could at least read the Gospel of John, which was only 15 pages in our textbook for the day.  Had anyone in the class ever read the Gospel of John?  Not one hand in the room went up. I told them they could take their Bible home to read it and a few said they would. I invited them to church so they could come and see Jesus for themselves.

After visiting this class three times now, it is heartbreaking to see how unfamiliar the current American high schooler is with Jesus.  As a youth pastor, usually I interact with students at church.  Here they have a basic understanding of the story of the Bible, but visiting this class has given me a sampling of the thousands of Orange County high school students who are unchurched.  They don’t know the gospel.  No one has ever told it to them.  What’s even worse is they have no context to understand it in their worldview.  Here’s two reasons why:

#1. God is not holy

If God is referred to in a way that does not exclusively emphasize his love, the students are either confused or downright hostile.  “Why would anyone want to believe in a God like that?” This question has been asked every time I have been to the class.  It is almost like it is hard for them to understand a God we do not make up ourselves, but who is revealed to us!   If I bring up the fact that God is going to judge it just comes across to them as mean and harsh.  They do not seem to understand the concept of holiness and that God is set apart from all sin. Even when I am trying to tell them about God’s love to send his Son Jesus to die for our sins, they don’t seem to see the need for it.  Love doesn’t come across as a gift but more expected, even deserved. Of course, God should love me.  This leads me to the second reason the gospel doesn’t make sense to them:

#2. They are not sinners

In the questions that the class asks, there is no sense that something is wrong or they need to be saved from anything. They don’t see how they could be the problem. The constant preaching of self-esteem in the public high schools today has already been believed here. This is why sins like homosexuality or abortion can be so easily accepted by young people today.  If I am not doing anything wrong in my life, then why should what someone else is doing be wrong either?

Without a concept of our separation from God, that he is holy and we are sinful, there is no context for these young people to process the gospel.  Why is Jesus dying for me again?  Why does God even have wrath that Jesus has to satisfy on the cross?  Unfortunately, the symbol of our religion is merely an empty shape to young people today. There is no substance.

It is clear their perspective of Christianity comes from the media and not from source material like the Bible, church or even from talking to Christians.  They are confused when I do not answer their questions from a political perspective as they think of me more as a conservative than a Jesus follower.  At one point, a skeptical young man in the back quoted the liberal line that the Bible was still a major moral force in our country.

I asked him how many times had he ever read the Bible in a classroom before today?


How could the Bible be a major force in his life if he doesn’t even know what it says?

Please join me in praying for the generation coming of age in America right now.  They do not know God. They do not know themselves.  And they have not been introduced to the one textbook that gives them the answers to life’s most important questions.

As a high school pastor, my mission field is on campus.  Yes, I do my work in the church but if the gospel is not getting to the actual high schools then my ministry is a failure.  This is going to take a lot more than me teaching one class.  It is going to take an army of teen ministers who go to school every day ready to show and tell the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is my job to equip the young people at church to do the work of the ministry on their campus.

Right now, I have students who have started 18 Christian clubs on their campuses here in Orange County, but this is just a start.  We need to evangelize every high school.  I have been able to talk with some of my youth ministry colleagues and these campus lunches are spreading, but I want to extend this invitation to every youth pastor in America…

This is why I am announcing the Equipped Youth Ministry Conference at Compass Bible Church, October 8-9, 2013.  If you are a youth pastor, then please unite with us to carry the name of Jesus on campus.  If you know a youth pastor with a heart for high schoolers to hear the gospel, then please help me spread the word!  More details to come!

Join me in praying the gospel will ring out on campus!

Right now there are too many classrooms where the story of Jesus has not been heard.

18 Responses to “The Mission Field On Campus”

  • Sam Graham

    This is exciting news Pastor Bobby! I will be praying for this conference. Thank you for posting!

  • Nice blog, and praise God for that opportunity! That’s awesome your going to have the Equipped Youth Ministry Conference at Compass Bible Church, October 8-9, 2013! Great idea! Maybe Dana Dill at South Shores would want to come—he’s a youth pastor. Praise God!

  • Meisha Preston

    This is so awesome Pastor Bobby!!! Praying that more churches would reach into the high schools surrounding them! This truly is a mission field!!

  • Stacy Petersen

    Revival is spreading. Oh, how I am praying we ALL step into the mission field God has raised us up for and embrace the people in OUR paths as HE has embraced US. I am amp’d for this conference and prayerful for our students and THEIR mission fields. I am praying for TRUE REVIVAL and that it sweeps our county AND our nation, and on into our WORLD… Praising the Lord for raising YOU up, Pastor Bobby, to lead the way for us with such fervor and confidence in our unstoppable, unmatched Master.

  • Beth Lauder

    Excellent blog! This pointed to two key issues I’ve seen again and again in my evangelism conversations…not thinking God is holy and not thinking people are sinners. I want to be a part of the solution to this problem in America! I’m asking God to give me many opportunities to share the Truth of God’s Word and the life changing message of the gospel. I think it is awesome that Compass is hosting an Equipeed Conference for youth pastors. I am going to pray that MANY youth pastors will attend and that the focus of their ministry will be impacted so that there are many churches working together to get the gospel of Jesus Christ to ring out on high school campuses all over Orange County! This is exciting stuff!

  • Andrea Quist

    This. Is. Awesome!! Much of my interaction is with “churched” TN students, but when I go on their campuses to sporting events, dance recitals, graduations, etc I get a much more realistic taste of the battle field. Yikes! It breaks my heart, but also grows my heart for these young people. Praising the Lord for how he continues to use you and Christa to equip us and others!

  • Sharon

    I will be praying for this conference!!

  • Bre Thompson

    SUCH an awesome blog Pastor Bobby and such an exciting event to be praying for!! What a reminder for me on my mission field that MANY that I interact with on a day to day basis have never heard the gospel, never touched a bible… heart breaking but SO motivating!! Praying for the gospel to ring out in the high schools of Orange County and beyond!

  • Jenni Cuccia

    Thank you Pastor Bobby!! Awesome blog!! This breaks my heart…So excited to see what God does as we pray!!

  • BethGilbert

    Sobering blog for sure. You summed it up pretty well, the rampant expectation and entitlement of teens today over indulged and uninformed about Christ, the very thing they need!

  • John Hellriegel

    I love the discussion about Twilight. This is a simple but powerful tactic. Keep up the good work!

  • Shawna McGee

    “Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. God’s saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical truthfulness about who we are and yet also radical, unconditional commitment to us.” ~Tim Keller~ Praying for this “army of teen ministers” to reflect the image of Christ. We become like those we behold.

  • Cris Francisco

    Bobby, I’m praying that through your ministry many (especially high school students) will be reached and lives changed through the gospel. Thanks for sharing.

  • Wesley Wong

    Awesome blog, Pastor Bobby! Stoked to be a minister of Jesus Christ spreading the gospel!

  • Charles Limbua

    I would like you please to visit us in norther kenya for Evangelism a lot of people are still in darkness. be blessed.

  • Katlin Puchalski

    Exciting stuff!! Great blog, Pastor Bobby! Getting me more excited for evangelism and prayer and how God will answer! Praying for Revival at the high schools of Orange County, the conference, and beyond!!

  • Brad

    Great blog Bobby!

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