PEOPLE OFTEN ASK ME WHAT'S ON YOUR HEART FOR STUDENTS?
You know what? The moment I get asked that question, I freeze and struggle to share what's on my heart - Not because I don’t have anything to say, but because I have too much to say. For me, student mission is a lifestyle that has to be done both in words and actions.
This started with a journey I’ve been on with pilgrimage in the past few years. One day I started thinking to myself, what does it look like to be on a spiritual pilgrimage in where you live and work, where you are inviting the Holy Spirit to guide you moment by moment of your day, where you are filling your day up with God?
What would begin to happen if every step you took, every thought you had in mind, every word that came out of your mouth was led and empowered by the Holy Spirit?
Motivated by Frank Laubach and his letters, At the beginning of this academic year I decided to experiment with “filling every minute of my year full of the thought of God more than I did last year” and to be wide open toward students and their needs as I am toward God.*
I’ve only been experimenting with this lifestyle for a few months so far and have already seen the Lord do wonderful things through me. In some ways I now feel as if my eyes are suddenly opened and I can see the world differently.
To me, this simply has been a change of posture. A change of posture that has transformed how I am living my life and treasuring the people in front of me in the present time. A change of posture that simply helped me submit my time and my ministry to God and recognise I am not doing the ministry work for God but with God. I have realised all the random students I interact with on a daily basis are not so random anymore and God will use me if I just look.
Every morning before I leave the house, I pray John Wesley’s prayer of:
“I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, place me with whom you will.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be put to work for you or set aside for you,
Praised for you or criticised for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and fully surrender all things to your glory and service.”
And I can confirm that he does answer that prayer everyday.
I often get asked by churches, where are the students? We don’t have any students. And I respond, students are here, there and EVERYWHERE. Every single day I find myself having faith-filled and Jesus-filled conversations with students on the bus, by the beach, at a cafe, at a pub, on the train and anywhere I walk, only because I have made myself available to God and to students.
I have chosen to stay present and to be alert to God-connections and God-moments. I have chosen to do this even outside of my working hours and be on a spiritual pilgrimage amongst students. Moment by moment. Because I care if students experience the same hope and love I found in Jesus.
Perhaps this seems a bit extreme, but it’s just a small expression of my heart for the student generation who lack hope in Jesus and a home in the church community. A generation who are by proportion the loneliest and most anxious generation. A generation who are full of hope for the future and want a community and hope but don’t know where to find them – or if they do, they’re too anxious or shameful to step into a church or to pray.
What does it look like for you to be on a spiritual pilgrimage in this current student climate? Give it a go and see what begins to happen.
*Letters by a Modern Mystic, Frank C. Laubach, p3.