Aug 29, 2016


What do we do after the back-to-campus rush?

Clint Watkins of DiscipleMakers shares some great suggestions on what to do after the back-to-campus rush is over.

You and your leaders have blitzed the campus, meeting swarms of students, running outreach events, and trying to remember what it feels like to have energy. As the dust begins to settle, what should you do? Paul & Barnabas had a blitz of their own, and we can learn a lot from their plans following their first missionary journey in Acts 15-16.

Rejoice in God’s work.

After Paul & Barnabas’ first “campus rush”, there was much to celebrate. Gentiles in multitudes were turning to Jesus! On their way to Jerusalem to help figure out what to do about this new surge of non-Jewish believers, Paul and Barnabas proclaimed “in detail” the amazing work God did, bringing “great joy to all the brothers.” (15:3).  Their testimony encouraged believers and compelled them to keep preaching the gospel.

After the campus rush, rejoice in God’s work with your leaders. Get together and share stories of all that the Lord has done. It’s tempting for us to focus on what God did not do, who we did not reach, etc. But when we train our hearts and minds to recognize the reality that the Lord is at work, it radically changes the atmosphere. Discouraged leaders become revitalized, fearful leaders become emboldened, and pessimistic leaders become hopeful. Rejoicing motivates mission.

Resolve to follow up.

Though they had much to celebrate, they were not done. Paul tells Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are” (15:36). If you remember what their initial journey was like, you know that this is crazy! Persecution followed them everywhere they went. They were tired and beaten up. But Paul knew the importance of following up with the people they had just ministered to. New believers needed teaching, disciples needed training, and the lost needed the gospel.

In the first couple weeks, you and your leaders have met a lot of students. Now is the time to capitalize on those initial conversations! Resolve to follow up with every student you met. Block out a couple hours, bring a friend, and return to visit everyone. Do it around meal times so you can invite them to lunch or dinner. Invite them to your next event. If they’re not interested, simply take the time to get to know them. If they’re not in their room, text them or leave a note to let them know you stopped by. This student could be the next believer, disciple, Bible study leader, missionary.

Remember the mission.

On his follow up trip, Paul finds Timothy (16:1), a young disciple who will become his apprentice. This is a major encounter. We are aware of Paul’s impact on our world for the gospel, but did you know that Timothy’s role was critical in Paul’s missionary work? He helped Paul establish churches in Corinth (1 Corinthians 4:17), Thessaloniki (1 Thessalonians 3:6), Philippi (Philippians 2:19), and Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3), to name a few. Timothy co-wrote the letters of 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon. He became like a son to Paul and was the one who carried on his spiritual legacy (2 Timothy 2:2). And it all began with Paul’s resolve to follow up and his focus on what was most important: make disciples. Paul knew that, for the gospel to continue advancing, multiplication through discipleship was non-negotiable. He lived out what he would one day tell Timothy, “entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

Before, during, and after the campus rush, remember the mission. Your mission is not higher attendance to events and Bible studies. It is not to be liked by everyone you meet. It is not to make Jesus attractive to everyone. Your mission is to make disciples who make disciples. You are looking for young men and women who will follow Jesus with you, partner with you in the ministry of the gospel, and devote their lives to the advancement of God’s kingdom. That student may or may not be a believer yet, but are they willing to explore Jesus? Do they have an interest in studying God’s Word? Are they teachable and making themselves available? Answers to these questions take time to develop and wisdom to discern, so don’t judge a book by its cover and make hasty decisions. But don’t fall on the other side of the spectrum, making friends and club members without making disciples. The student you’re following up with could be your next Timothy, a faithful disciple who will learn from you, serve with you, and go on to make disciples of all nations.

about the author

Clint Watkins

Clint and his wife Jillian are missionaries to college students with DiscipleMakers. They have a passion to see the gospel of Jesus Christ transform lives and communities.