God was moving right in the heart of this secular student community!
Are you really going there to meet your pastor? That place is nothing short of a pub!”
The bewildered security officer stared at me in utter disbelief. I smiled and nodded. Yes, it was hard to believe that anyone would enter the university premises claiming to be meeting his pastor at The Joint. The Joint was a recreation area with round tables in the open air where students met to socialize. Initially started as a restaurant, it had become widely known for licentiousness, alcohol, and drugs. “Lord, glorify Yourself today through us,”I prayed as I drove through the densely populated university campus offering homes to more than 70,000 students from Kenya and other countries. These students need You, Lord. How can we share Your love with all of them?
Our Bible study group, composed of two pastors, an expatriate missionary, my best friend, and me, had agreed to meet for our weekly session at The Joint. Having embarked on a discipleship series, we had decided it was time to get out of our comfort zones and follow what we believed to be our Lord’s calling. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19) was our theme verse, and the imperative “Go!” our operative word. Jesus knew that His disciples would need to venture into unknown territory and go where people were, including “secular” Samaria and the ends of the earth. We knew exactly where our Samaria was.
We sat down at one of the tables and looked around at the students socializing. Music played in the background, and broken beer bottles littered the ground. I could smell a whiff of marijuana. What a place! We prayed and asked for the Lord to open doors for witnessing and outreach in that student community that needed the Lord but didn’t know Him. Chad and Brian, two university students, sat at our table, and we began to have small talk about their studies and university life. Chad was a well-kempt young man, eloquent and outspoken, and engaged us in conversation. Brian, covered by tattoos and with dreadlocks hanging over his bloodshot eyes, looked uninterested and left after a while.
Soon we started to share about spiritual matters with Chad. Much to our surprise, he told us that he came from an Adventist background. However, he had stopped going to church years ago. His eyes lit up as we shared about God’s love. Christ’s blood shed at Calvary can save absolutely anyone! No one is beyond redemption. Chad seemed to soak up every word. At the end of our conversation he promised he would share these truths with his friends and invite them the following week to our Bible study. God was moving in the heart of this secular student community!
As I drove home that day, feeling the warm glow of having ministered to someone in a most unlikely place, I realized that the Great Commission was just that—a call to venture out of my “churchy” comfort zone to where people were.
Jesus Himself befriended tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners with the sole aim of reclaiming their hearts for eternity. Why would He keep such “bad” company, much to the dismay of the religious leaders of His time? He had a heart for the lost. He left His heavenly comfort zone and transformed into His disciples those who had been lost.
That’s what He is calling you and me to do today.