Student Ministry, Evangelism, and the Sovereignty of God

Recently, I took an evangelism class in seminary. One of the books we read was J.I. Packers’ Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. Within this we unpacked God’s and humanity’s role in reaching the lost for Christ. No matter where you end up theologically on things like the sovereignty of God, total depravity, and the doctrine of election, the bottom line is this: you are in an intimate relationship with the Savior of the world or you are not.

As a result of this class I continued the evaluation process of what was already heavy on my heart: are we really reaching this generation for the cause of Christ? Are lost students in our doors on a weekly basis? Are we waiting for students to come to us or are we actively seeking them out?

I firmly believe in all three of these things: student ministry within the context of the local church, evangelizing the lost, and the sovereignty of God. For clarification purposes, the sovereignty of God can best be understood through the lenses of Isaiah 46:10, Colossians 1:17, and Acts 17:28.

When thinking and processing these three things strategically the following thoughts (with Scripture passages) came to mind…

1. Students and families need to be boldly reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 28:19-20, “19Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Ephesians 2:1-5, “1And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 3We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. 4But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, 5made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!”

Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

2. Christ following students are called to reach others with the only true source of hope there is- Jesus Christ.
John 14:6, “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, Himself human.

Matthew 5:14-16, “14You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. 15No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

3. Students are often nervous about sharing their faith; the sovereignty of God provides needed confidence in the work of Christ in and around them.
Ephesians 1:11-12, “11We have also received an inheritance in Him, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will, 12so that we who had already put our hope in the Messiah might bring praise to His glory.”

4. We must help students and families understand that Christ alone changes hearts, minds, and ultimately saves. Christ is the Savior; we are privileged to be the vessel.
Revelation 7:10, “And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

 2 Timothy 2:10, “This is why I endure all things for the elect: so that they also may obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.”

Scripture passages taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB).