Student Mission Legacies: John Mott

The Student Mission story is always unfolding. With every new story of salvation and answered prayer, there is another story of someone committing to pray to see a move of God in the student generation. Some of these stories are hundreds of years old, with people whose names we may not know, making a huge impact on the student mission narrative we are a part of today. To highlight the story you're a part of, we're sharing some stories from years before. Check out this one below. 

In 1886, a young man from Iowa sat in a large hall at Cornell University, listening to a talk by a visiting preacher from Britain. That preacher was Kynaston Studd, brother to C.T. Studd, who you may know from the Cambridge Seven. The young man, John Mott, was considering his future. Either a career in the legal profession or his Father’s lumber yard seemed to be the most feasible. However, three sentences from Studd’s sermon would penetrate the heart of Mott, and irrevocably alter the course of student mission - “Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.” At a Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) gathering later that year, Mott was one of 100 people to volunteer to serve on overseas missions. 

Upon his graduation, Mott started serving as the leader of the YMCA in North America, travelling from campus to campus overseeing the coordination of Christian events. Concurrently, he served as the chairman of the board for the Student Volunteer Movement. In 1895 Mott founded the World Student Christian Movement and served as its first general secretary. In this capacity, Mott travelled all over the world, speaking to national student christian movements. A critical part of his mission was the promotion of international Christian brotherhood and ecumenism. 

During the First World War, Mott offered the services of the YMCA to President Woodrow Wilson, and was subsequently appointed general secretary of the National War Work Council. He would later serve on multiple diplomatic missions. For his services to promoting international peace and brotherhood, Mott was awarded the 1946 Nobel Peace Prize. At the time of his death, Mott had been decorated by an extraordinary fourteen countries. Thank goodness he didn’t choose the lumber yard. 


Fusion Team

The vision of Fusion is to see every student have the opportunity to find hope in Jesus and home in the local church during their time at university. Written by the Fusion Team & friends of Fusion, the Fusion blog is full of tips, resources, and stories that will equip and inspire you to play your part in the student mission narrative.