Every Christian Should be an Evangelist - Even College Students

As Christians, our job is not to save the world or redeem humanity. That is Christ’s job. He will see to it. But He has called us to join Him in completing the task. He has called us to the job of spreading the truth about who He is, what He has done, is doing and will do.

What is the situation today?

Most evangelical Christians would agree that there are many who profess to be Christians who are not. I will not spend time here arguing that point. The reality is that there are billions who have heard of Christ and have rejected him as Savior. On top of this, there are billions who have never even really heard of Christ as Savior. There are thousands of unreached people groups where there is no indigenous church to proclaim the gospel to certain people that share a similar native language. Even worse there are some tribes that are unengaged, meaning we do not know of any missionaries actively trying to reach them at this point. Needless to say, the task before us is urgent, as billions today face an eternity in hell under the wrath of God for their sin.

Most reading this at this point are probably saying “Yeah, I know all this, that’s why I'm in ministry.” But what do you think most of the students really think when they hear the facts above at your weekly meeting or in a discipleship group. I think many honestly feel “Why should I try and help?” Or “Sure, I need to do something about that in the future, but right now I have to be a college student first.”

Many of our students may not be asking the above questions out loud but it probably goes through their subconscious. “Isn’t college a time for me to learn, grow, develop myself and have fun?” If we want to be effective as college ministers we’ve got to become proficient at answering these sort of objections towards personal evangelism.

College should be a place to learn and have fun and develop yourself. But it is also about much more. It is about serving and honoring the one true God. Sin living in all of us causes us to shrink back from the task of evangelism and discipleship God has called us to. College students sometimes feel they have a few extra excuses to help them avoid evangelism though. How can properly motivate them to risk being involved? Two big reasons rush to my mind.

It is commanded.

One reason is that we have been commanded to. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus told the church to “make disciples of all the nations.” Some will try to say that this only applies to the apostles. Certainly Jesus spoke it to them as the leaders of the church. But it seems that He wanted the entire church to be involved in this process at some level.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:6 that the risen Christ once appeared to over 500 people at once. There is good reason to think this happened when Jesus spoke the great commission of Matthew 28:18-20.[1] The commands and promises that Jesus spoke that day were for the full church. Of course the apostles led the way. Ministers should continue to set the pace. But the New Testament never says they should do the sum total of evangelizing and discipling. All Christians should be involved in this great task to the degree they are able, including college students.

Some students may feel you have little to offer. One huge thing students have to offer though is all the free time they have on the campus around future leaders. These future leaders in college are often very open to new ideas. Most non-Christians won’t attend a church for any reason whatsoever, so they’ll have little chance to ever hear some great preacher sharing the gospel with them. But they will probably happily have a conversation with a friend after class over a cup of coffee. Don’t underestimate how God can use your students right where they are today. As a college minister it’s our job to help them see the part they can play in God’s grand plan of redemption.

It is assumed.

The fact that all should be involved seems assumed in many passages. Mark 5 tells the story of a naked, insane man living in a cemetery. He is possessed by demons. Jesus casts out the demons. The man trusts in Christ and wants to follow Him. Jesus commands the man to go home and tell what God has done for him. If a man that moments earlier had legions of demons inside of him can be commissioned to go do some basic personal evangelism, do you really think your students have a good excuse not to?

John 4 tells the story of an adulterous woman who trusts in Christ. She immediately runs back to town and starts telling everyone she can find about the Messiah. Acts 1:8 and 5:32 indicate that all Christians have the Holy Spirit and seem to imply that one of the main reasons we have the Holy Spirit is to tell others about Christ.

Acts 8:1-4 is even more instructive. There is a persecution in the church at Jerusalem and many were scattered into other cities. They went about preaching the word. The text specifically tells us the apostles stayed in Jerusalem. Those who were especially gifted for and ordained to preach and evangelize stayed home while average Joe and Jane Christians spread the gospel around the Roman Empire. Philip was one of these. He is later called an evangelist. But at this point he had only been appointed to a role similar to that of a deacon. He was in officially in charge of managing money and mercy ministry in the Jerusalem church but this did not stop him from sharing his faith boldly and effectively. See Acts 6 and 8.

In 1 Peter 3:15 Peter tells all Christians they should be able to explain the gospel to others. These are just a handful of examples to show that the New Testament expects all Christians, including college students, to be personally involved in evangelism to the extent they can. This means personal conversations with people about Christ.

Conclusion

Are you being faithful to look for opportunities to encourage your students to share the gospel with the friends that God has given them? If not, why not? Where ever you are in this process, pray that God would fill you full of His Holy Spirit and use you more to start a movement of average Joe and Jane college student Christians sharing the gospel with their friends reguar

[1] Matthew 28:17 tells us some there doubted. It is unlikely that one of the eleven apostles still doubted at this point. There must have been others there. Secondly in verse 20 He tells us that He is with us always “even to the end of the age.” If we insist on interpreting this as only spoken to the apostles, this does not make sense. And do we really want to take this promise away from the layman (those who are not in full time vocational ministry)?