Don’t Forget The Least of These
Throughout my time in ministry I have read many strategies and ways of reaching the campus for Christ and developing leaders. I have grown greatly by thinking through and applying principles such as reaching the influencers by Steve Shadrach. We have also seen a lot of value in helping our students set personal ministry goals and helping them focus on a specific affinity group on campus. These are two of the best strategies out there on reaching our campus for the gospel.
I completely understand the “win the chief win the tribe” mindset, but many of the students we have reached and who have become our best leaders did not start off as leaders. They were not the president of their fraternity, they were not the quarterback, and they were not captain of the cheerleaders. Often our best leaders were the least of these. They were nothing special to look at on the surface. They were just your average Joes, but the students bought in to our vision and have served faithfully. I think it is important to remember that while it is worthwhile to go after the influencers on campus, that is not always where the best leaders come from. God often used the least of these in His kingdom work. Moses had a speech impediment. David was nearly looked over as he was the youngest son. Jesus was born in a manger.
1 Corinthians 1:26-27: “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.”
Let us not overlook those the world overlooks. God often has a way of surprising us on who he chooses to lead. This does not mean we should overlook the influencers on our campus, but we should also not overlook those the world overlooks.
I have found great value in helping our students think through the strategy of reaching the influencers and ministering to affinity groups on campus, but in that, we must make sure we make room for the least of these. There will be students who are not involved in the affinity groups you are trying to reach, students who just do not seem to have found their place yet, students who are just lonely.
I make it a practice to go to our union and try to meet new students over lunch. Often my strategy has been to just pick the loneliest looking student in the room and sit with them. I have found that many of these students are in fact lonely and desperate for community. I sat down with a student before the pandemic and he thanked me for talking to him as it had been a while since he had talked to anyone. Let me repeat that: “ANYONE!” Students are desperate for community. Students are desperate for community. Let us help them find it.
I believe we can reach the most students by strategically focusing on the affinity groups on our campus and reaching the influencers, but we also must reach out to those who may fall between the cracks. It should never be one or the other. In our digital age there are so many students who do not have any community. We must leave no stone left unturned. Get out onto campus and do some 30 Second Surveys. Grab some contacts and do some Gospel Appointments. You never know who on your campus may be the lonely and the least of these that God will use to start a movement.