16For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith… (Romans 1:16)
Gary Haugen, founder of International Justice Mission, established a daily ½ hour prayer meeting for his organization. Every day at 11:00 the whole office stops work, gathers in the conference room, and prays. When asked about this Gary responds, “We had to ask ourselves a question, ‘What power do we really believe is going to set people free?’”
On campus, what power do we really believe is going to set people free? Is it our great proxe stations, or our winning personalities? Is it our campus strategy, or our excellent program? Or is it something else?
Paul says that the gospel is the power of God. Paul’s expectation for fruitful ministry (that I may reap some harvest among you…v14) is not ultimately tied to his skill as a messenger, but the message itself. What is this message? Paul’s gospel is the announcement that Jesus the messiah is risen from the dead and is lord of the world. (v1-4) As Paul is faithful to announce this gospel, he knows and expects that God will act through him to, “bring about the obedience of faith… (v5)”
What implications does this have for us on campus?
1. Center our Hope
I love and value the work we’re doing to improve our outreach. We need to be constantly improving our strategies, plans, and programs. We can’t just dust off last year’s NSO and hope for a better result. And yet, our hope must not be centered in our activities but in the gospel of Jesus Christ. What do we really believe is going to set people free on campus? If we really believe it is the gospel, what implications would that have? What would we change?
2. Clarify our Message
Too often I hear students sharing the gospel in ways that are unclear. If the gospel is the power of God for salvation, then we need to get crystal clear about this message. How do we teach students to share this message? How do we coach them so that they can share it clearly, concisely, and compellingly?
3. Call People to Faith
“Would you like to become a follower of Jesus today?” This is a powerful question that is under-utilized. In Romans 1 Paul describes his ministry to call the Gentiles to the obedience of faith, and then immediately adds, “including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.” Paul does not simply communicate the gospel he calls for a response. What would it look like if every time we shared the good news of the gospel we called people to faith?
Question: When have you experienced power & boldness in your witness? What was its source?