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Why campus ministry could be killing you

June 12, 2016

Saturday morning—I did my first Crossfit workout. At the end of the session, only one guy was standing. He was barely sweating. He was barely breathing hard. That guy was me.

Why was I not tired?

Because, instead of doing one minute’s worth of pull-ups five different times, the trainer saved me. She knew I couldn’t last, so she gave me a massive rubber band to hang from, essentially making pull-ups three times easier.

Instead of heavy weight for Olympic style cleans, the trainer gave me 10 lb plates.

And for the military-style ball throws, she gave me a light foam ball instead of a medicine ball.

What I love about Crossfit is that, for those who do it, Crossfit takes heart.

There’s fear of pain. But they push through.

There’s fear of failure. But they push through.

There’s risk of injury. But they push through.

There’s fear of embarrassment (The trainer ultimately took my band away and told me to just jump up and down and “act like you’re doing pull-ups”). Still, they push through.

Why do they keep exercising so hard? Because they have heart!

Recently, a twenty year old girl in my church gave one of her kidneys to a close friend. Despite the risks, she pushed through. Why? Because she loved her friend, and she was willing to do whatever it took to keep her friend alive. She had heart!

What I love about following Christ and laboring in His harvest field is that it takes heart.

It takes heart.

In the late 80’s a college student named Chuck Keeter wanted to see his football coach hear the gospel. So he invited his coach, Coach Bill, to a retreat for men where he knew he would hear the gospel.

At that conference, Chuck’s coach heard that he must be born again. Coach Bill was ready to receive Christ, and he was born again.

Coach Bill went on to become a big-time football coach and some other godly men began trying to reach out to other men. Before their ministry was through, they filled stadiums across America with crowds up to 70,000 men and shared the gospel with them.

Coach Bill (McCartney) led over one million men to march in Washington to repent and pray. It’s the largest crowd that ever gathered on the Washington mall to this day.

How did all this happen? A college student had heart. A college student had the heart it takes to impact others.

Following Christ and laboring for Him on a college campus takes heart!

Corrie Ten Boom, a World War II concentration camp prisoner, was placed in custody because she and her family shielded Jews from the Nazis. In the camps, she and others led Bible studies so people could come to know the Lord.

Amazingly, the Gestapo never found her Bible. In fact, they never walked in and caught the prisoners in “The Big Room” (as it was called) reading the Bible. One day, they found out why.

One of the soldiers revealed they wouldn’t go in that room because of the fleas. Corrie and her sister had thanked God for the fleas months earlier, even before it was revealed that the fleas were actually responsible for keeping the Bible study going.

As you labor for Him, there are always going to be headwinds. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

One of our students was recently mocked in front of a crowd because he shared a different view on sex than the entire rest of the room. He held a biblical view.

When it comes to headwinds, there is a high probability of low probability events. For example, the chances that you will experience any single form of persecution on American college campuses is actually low.

What are the chances you try to reach someone with the gospel, and that same someone decides to do a news story saying you are stalking them? Low. Has it happened to someone in our ministry? Yes.

What are the chances that some authorities will strongly resent us for loving college students and sharing the good news of Christ? Low. Has it happened to our ministry? Yes.

What are the chances you lose two key donors in a week? Low. Has it happened? Yes, to several of our people.

What are the chances an ice storm hits the exact same day students are traveling to your life changing conference? Low. Has it happened? I’ve seen it.

What are the chances a few hundred people praying could warm the temperature seven degrees in a five state area in a matter of 30 minutes? I don’t know. I only know it happened!

Bad things happen. There is a high probability of low probability events. And when those things come, do you know what takes no heart at all? Quitting.

Jesus said,

“Put your hand to the plough and don’t look back…Calculate the cost of the tower you want to build and build it.”

In so many ways the Crossfit scene I described to you could just as easily be you and your leaders at the end of a semester. You’ve given it your all. You’re tired. Some of you may even be sick. You’re worked over. Many of you have pushed yourselves beyond yourselves. You have heart!

So go and get the rest you need, recharge, refresh, and then get back out there and play with heart!

Your staff team needs you to do it. Your student leaders need you to do it. And the world around you needs you to do it.

If you play with heart, you’ll play an incredibly strategic role in the Great Commission. A chapter will be written about those who had the heart to overcome all obstacles and reach college students with the gospel.

I hope you have the heart to make it into that chapter! We need each and every person working with college students to minister with heart in order for that chapter to be what it’s supposed to be.