Embracing God's Plan in College Ministry
When I was in high school, I wanted to go anywhere except the University of Idaho. I was a city girl living in a small town and desperate to get out. The U of Idaho is in a town three times smaller than my hometown, in the middle of nowhere, with a reputation of being a big party school. I applied to four schools that were out of state and were in locations where I felt that I could grow.
I got accepted to all of them, so I had to make a choice: I could go my way and follow my dream to become a foreign policy diplomat or I could go God’s way.
As money became more of an issue, I saw God was closing doors and the only one left open was the University of Idaho. I wanted to do was ignore God’s voice and follow my own dream because it seemed more logical…and more fun. I prayed and prayed that U of Idaho and this little town were not what God had planned for me. I thought that if I asked Him, then He would give me grace and just change the plan He has for my life.
I tried fitting God, the all-powerful, all-knowing, forever-loving God into this tiny container, imagining I could magically control my destiny with prayer. He hears my prayers and my cries, but what I was praying for was ultimately just to satisfy myself so I could continue living in my comfort zone.
[pullquote width="300" float="left"]“God wants us to be where He wants us to be, more than we want to be where He wants us to be.”[/pullquote]
But, God hasn’t called us to be comfortable in our western Christian culture. He is calling us out into the world to share Jesus and His message of love. This means trusting in His plan to the point that you’re willing to give up the plans you’ve made for years.
God knew I struggled with the confidence I had in my faith. I’d never shared my story before or shared the gospel with any of my friends. I never felt like I belonged to a solid community that cared for me or reached out to me. I never knew what it meant to be a part of a fellowship of believers that Paul describes in Acts 2.
I knew He wanted me at the U of Idaho for a reason, so when I got there I decided to jump right in and see where God was leading me. A friend of mine told me about a church that met on-campus Sunday nights. I went the very first Sunday and was immediately met by five people surrounding me: asking my name, where I was from, what my major was - and they seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say.
It was a brand new feeling and I was captivated. By the end of the night I had met dozens of students who all seemed so full of joy and love for everyone they met. I knew that Jesus was working in this place and in the hearts of these people. One of the older students asked if I’d have coffee with her the next night.
That night changed my life.
Alex, who is only a couple years older than me, showed me around my new town, and bought me a coffee. Wondrous things can happen over a cup of coffee! She asked me questions that no one had asked me before: “How’s your relationship with Jesus like?” “What helps you experience God? For me, it’s sunsets!”
God knows exactly what we need before we even know to ask.
He knew how much I needed a loving community to grow to be like Him. He puts people in our lives for His purpose. I tried living a solitary faith and thought Jesus and I were enough to survive. This is a dangerous habit and a solitary faith is not the Christian faith. God saved us to be a body of Believers. His bride. His Church.
God called me to sacrifice my dreams and personal goals because He knew I could be used in this tiny town for His glory and purpose.
A missionary friend of mine once told me, “God wants us to be where He wants us to be, more than we want to be where He wants us to be.” Our Father is an all-knowing God and His plan is moving even when we’re not.
“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” -Acts 2:46-47
The Church is central to God’s plan. Being a part of a college ministry has opened my eyes to a covenant community that God called us to be a part of. Lift one another up and encourage each other.
You are a full-time missionary - God placed you in that coffee shop, dorm room, or boring lecture class for a reason.
If you allow Him, the Lord will blow you away with His faithfulness - He will place people in your life with whom you can share the Gospel. Ask a younger girl for coffee or lunch. Volunteer to lead a Bible study. Join a local church while you're in college.
Live with Gospel intent, and love on purpose. There are people, college students especially, who are in need of a loving community who will point them to the loving Jesus.