Oct 05, 2015

Reach

Why You Should Join the Engage24 Movement


 

Kevin Stacy, a collegiate project specialist for the North American Mission Board, writes about the evangelistic momentum behind Engage24.

Here’s the ugly truth about college students and sharing Christ: Based on what we know from research and personal experience, it’s clear that typical Christian college students do not share their faith. In fact, most Christian collegians – even those who regularly attend ministry events – have never even attempted to share the gospel with another person.

What’s at stake?

There are currently over 20 million college students in North America. They have come to our universities from all over the country, and the world, to have their minds shaped in classrooms, dorm rooms, and lawns through the exchange of ideas and philosophies. We also know that these twenty-something years are the most pivotal years of growth and transformation in a person’s life (see Meg Jay’s “The Defining Decade”), and that the ideologies they adopt in college will cement for life. If we do not reach them with the gospel, we risk losing an entire generation.

The other risk on the table is with the students in our ministries. There are currently hundreds of thousands of students actively involved in collegiate ministries, and, just like their non-believing peers, Christian students too, are in the process of normalizing spiritual patterns while in college. By not building in them a discipline of evangelism, we are creating a missing link in their discipleship. If they don’t learn to share now, it is likely that they never will.

Is there any solution?

If we’re looking for a silver bullet, sadly, there is not one to be found. This culture of students cloistering, or secluding, the gospel from their peers will not be reversed overnight. The habits of operating out of fear, apathy, and lack of faith to share the gospel are deeply entrenched, and we recognize that the task of changing them is momentous.

In October 2011, a group of college ministry leaders gathered for an evangelism think tank to process precisely this problem. They arrived at a simple goal: To see every Christian college student share their faith before the end of college.

While this may seem like an audacious endeavor, the approach is simple: “When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.” Out of this thinking, Engage24 emerged.

What is Engage24?

Engage24 is simple. It’s a 24-hour period when every believer is encouraged to engage at least one person in a gospel conversation. Instead of focusing on winning people to Christ, the target is getting Christians to engage lost people. We absolutely want people to become Christ followers, but just as importantly, we want to see Christians sharing Jesus. We want to see believers move forward by sharing Christ and those who hear the gospel move closer to a relationship with Him.

What have we seen?

In the first three years of Engage24, we have seen ministries uniting in prayer, students being discipled like never before, and thousands of people sharing their faith on campuses across the country.

Some stories from 2014 include:

  • A ministry at Francis Marion University held a 24-hour prayer event on campus in conjunction with Engage24, and through their students’ gospel conversations saw 15 new professions of faith!
  • Students at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL had over 400 gospel conversations on Engage24, and 20 of the students who participated said it was the first time they had shared their faith with someone!

Many other ministries from across the country reported participating in Engage24, and tailoring it to fit their own campus. Some showed movies on the lawn, some hosted flag football games, and others and others devoted the entire week to intentionally meeting new students and sharing the gospel on campus. At the end of the day, thousands of gospel conversations were reported and many decisions for Christ were made.

Will you Engage on 10.15.15?

This year we are hoping to see more ministries than ever be part of Engage24, and it starts with you, the leader.

    • Train: Equip leaders and students to clearly articulate the gospel. Use whatever method you like (there are many examples on the Engage24 website), but make sure that all of your students are fluent in the gospel.
    • Model: As the leader, engage in sharing the gospel yourself. We cannot take people where we have not been.
    • Pray: For campus. For opportunities. For leaders to be raised up among your students to share.
    • Execute: Develop a plan for sharing on 10-15-15. Make it as easy as possible for students to participate.
    • Celebrate: Celebrate the obedience of students who shared the gospel. Celebrate those who accept Christ. Share stories of what God does in your ministry on social media and the Engage24 website Results Form

We remain focused on the goal — engaging all 75,000 of our collegiate tribe in sharing Christ through Engage24. This year, we’re again inviting college students everywhere to commit to sharing the gospel with at least one person on 10-15-15. Join us. Lead a group of college students to pray for and participate in Engage24.

For more information and lots of resources, visit engage24.org where you’ll find videos, evangelism tools, a graphics package, and a complete planning guide PDF. You can also hear two of the members of the team that developed Engage24 discuss the concept on the Collegiate Collective podcast: Part 1, Part 2


about the author

Kevin Stacy


Kevin serves as Collegiate Projects Specialist with the North American Mission Board. He supports the NAMB Collegiate team by executing initiatives aimed at reaching and making disciples of the 22 million college students in North America.