You and your two friends walk on to a campus.
You’ve never been here before. You just drove overnight to get to a new campus you felt God putting on your heart.
You pray for God to lead you, but you don’t sense anything yet. After you pray again, you decide to walk around. Suddenly you notice an international student sitting on a bench. For no apparent reason you feel like you should talk to him and ask him if He’s thought about Jesus lately. You strike up a conversation with him. He tells you he had a dream last night about Jesus and prayed for God to bring him people to talk to. He’s pretty amazed. You go out for coffee and talk some more and you pray for him at the end. The following night, you and the team get invited to a BBQ at his apartment where you meet some of his friends. You pray for some people there who have been sick. One of them says they feel drastically better. The following week, some of these friends meet again to discuss the teachings of Jesus with you. Three of the students say they want to follow Jesus. They get baptized in their apartment that night. You prophesy over one of them a vision you saw of them going back to their nation and bringing God’s kingdom there. You start encouraging these new believers over the next couple weeks to keep meeting, worshiping, following Jesus together, and inviting others to experience what they have just experienced with Jesus. You tell them you’ll be in touch and come back to see how they’re doing next month.
Got to move on.
Got to go to other campuses.
They need to hear, too.
It’s exhausting and challenging at times. Other times, you realize you’re having the greatest ride of your life.
This Jesus movement is spreading and it’s exciting to be on journey with Him.
The last few years, God’s been speaking to multiple students and older mobilizers about a movement of traveling teams, demonstrating God’s kingdom from campus to campus, starting student churches, and going to the nations. This summer, recent graduates are stepping out in faith to follow this leading of God’s Spirit.
No Traveling Teams : No Book of Acts
Throughout history, God’s purposes have been spread through traveling teams. Adam and Eve were told to fill the earth (which I’m guessing would require a bit of travel). When people stopped spreading out and instead gathered together to build a tower for God, He “nudged” them (to put it politely) to travel again. (Genesis 11). Abraham was called to travel. Jonah had to travel to Ninevah (after a slight detour to visit the inside of a fish). Traveling teams were Jesus’ primary means of mobilizing His kingdom message and spreading His power. Paul and Barnabus, after a season of fasting and prayer, were sent out by the Holy Spirit on the first extended missionary journey recorded in scripture. Most of the letters of the New Testament were written to young church communities that were birthed as a result of their obedience. If there were no traveling teams, there would be no Book of Acts (at least it would only be a few chapters long).
St. Patrick traveled throughout Celtic Ireland, starting missional, apostolic prayer communities, sparking a movement that would transform the entire island in two generations. John Wesley and an army of common people rode on horseback to preach the gospel and form people into discipleship communities. On and on, God seems to use people when they travel on these apostolic adventures.
What new chapters in history will Jesus write as students step out in faith to travel?
In five years, what do you want to look back and say you got to be a part of seeing God do?
Are you willing to take a risk?
Are you willing to travel?
Do you sense God saying, “Go?”
Will you go?
For those among the student churches and prayer communities who see a strong opening from the Lord to start businesses or embark on other careers, will you support a team of recent graduates from the movement as they spend a year traveling campuses, demonstrating God’s kingdom, building up student churches, and starting new simple church communities on campuses?
Three years ago I was sitting in a prayer room, frustrated with the status quo of “ministry as usual”. I was thinking about quitting the ministry, but desperately praying for God to show me what He was doing. That day I had a vision. I saw a movement of young people traveling from campus to campus and I saw the words, “Student Church.”
The last year, Jen and I and our friends, Ryan and Lindsay, stepped out to take some traveling journeys. We believe this was a simple act of faith to obey what God is starting to say to hundreds, if not thousands, of young people who will go from campuses to the nations on great adventures with Jesus.
Recently I was talking with Brad McKoy, one of the Student Church national elders. Here is what he told me:
There is such a sense of God’s timing as we pray and begin preparing to send out apostolic teams to travel from campus to campus to make disciples and catalyze student churches. The Lord has been speaking to students, intercessors and mobilizers about this for a long time.
Almost 5 years ago, Adriane and I were on vacation in Michigan and stopped for lunch in Ann Arbor. During lunch (at a sweet Mongolian BBQ) I had to run back a few blocks to the car and plug the meter. As I dropped the coin into the meter, the Holy Spirit started “downloading” a vision/ strategy of sending teams of students to travel through specific regions and around the nation.
These teams of 3 or 4 would go to a campus and find that people had been praying for God to move on their campus. They would partner with these students in preaching the Good News of Jesus, making disciples and planting new churches on the campus. Eventually, these initial teams trained others to replace them and a continuos cycle of traveling apostolic teams saturated the campuses of the nation. Within a year of the initial teams starting there was a net of student led curches across the nations. Soon, teams of musicians, artist, story-tellers formed “specialized teams” that traveled to these churches and took the excellence of the Kingdom into college town bars, clubs and galleries. There were also teams that focused on equipping these new churches in specific areas like healing and deliverance.
The whole download lasted only 3 to 4 minutes but I have never been able to fully describe the details of it in less than 45 minutes. I started calling what the Lord had shown me as “The Ann Arbor Initiative” and felt like the Lord told me that our time with the interns in Lawrence was a seed that was a part of bringing that vision about.
My heart is filled with expectation and with the fear of the Lord as I consider what it looks like for our student church family to send out these traveling teams. When the Lord reveals similar things to multiple people, it can help provide a sense of context and connection for what He is about to do. Let’s press into this together and trust our Father to pour out His Kingdom as sons and daughters spread his love from campus to campus.
— Brad McKoy
I believe now is the hour for this vision to come to pass.
We believe it is of utmost importance for the teams that travel to walk in these guiding values:
- The Father’s Heart
God is our loving Father. He’s a really good daddy who cares about you and your hearts’ desires. We don’t have to travel or give or perform or preach or heal or fast or do any other earthly thing to earn His love. He’s pleased when we obey. But we obey because He’s our father and He loves us… not to earn His love.
He’s in a good mood.
And He not only loves us, He likes us. He enjoys watching us dance and play and dream, and travel and write and sing and pursue the dreams of our heart.
Oh, and He’s also not super-anal about us making mistakes or not getting things right the first time. If we fail and stumble, He’ll pick us up and teach us to do better next time.
- Jesus’ Passion for God’s house to be a house of prayer for all nations
This is about the lost. It’s about the nations. It’s about going to those who probably won’t come to Christian meetings and churches, not attracting Christians who already go to church. It’s about loving God and others. It’s about seeing every corner of the earth experience God’s love, from the temporary back alleys of the working class neighborhoods of Dubai to the trash dumps orphaned children in India call home; from the halls of Wall Street to the dorms of Ivy League universities, the name of Jesus will be known and glorified and His freedom, healing, forgiveness, dominion, and love experienced in all nations.
- The Power of the Holy Spirit.
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be My witnesses…”
“Eagerly desire the gifts of the Holy Spirit…”
You might notice something interesting if you read the book of Acts. It’s the only narrative account of what the early Jesus movement (the church) looked like. And there were lots of miracles and crazy–sounding Holy Spirit encounters going on. People got healed. People got demons cast out of them. Churches started next to pagan temples. People traveled and got dreams and visions from God to lead them. If Paul and Peter and Barnabus (and Jesus, for that matter) were traveling today, they’d maybe get labeled by religious people as heretics or discounted as crazy charismatics. We hunger for the power of God’s Spirit more than we’re afraid of looking silly. We eagerly desire for God to do more and more of these things today. And we’re not afraid to step out in faith and try. And try again. And try again.
- We’re a Family, not just a movement.
We are not just a movement; we’re growing as a family. A movement without spiritual moms and dads would leave behind spiritual orphans. Church planting isn’t just a bunch of theories and principles. There must be spiritual moms and dads ready to love and serve a generation of youth taking on the Goliath’s of our age; ready to cry with you if things go badly; ready to celebrate with you as you encounter God and eternally transform lives on your journeys. God is into family. His plan for filling the earth started with a family. As the movement grows, and as you travel and support your friends who do, we must love each other like family.
We live in one of the most exciting hours in human history. I pray what God is doing on the campuses and the youth will spread to every nation in our generation!
For those who are sensing God’s call to travel, we’re going to start praying weekly. I’m recommending we gather together in the summer for a time of prayer, fun, and seeking God together before we hit the road in the Fall.
Start talking and praying about what God is calling you to after graduation. Who knows, you might end up leading a team of students on a backpacking trip in the next year through the Himalayas, healing the sick, finding persons of peace, and writing a “book of Acts-type” chapter for a people group that is yet to hear the name of Jesus.
You may one day look back and say it all started with you answering that burning desire in your heart to “go”.
Jesus may your kingdom come to every campus, city and nation in our lifetime!
– Erik Fish
Want to hear students tell what Jesus is doing in the Student Churches? Visit www.studentchurch.org!