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Humility, prayer keys to winning campuses for Christ, leaders say

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (BP)–Tom Warrington recently asked a group of Southern Baptist college students how Christians were viewed on today’s campuses.
Their answers? “Bigots, people fixated on rules, weirdos.”
“It really hasn’t changed that much since I was in school,” the 52-year-old Warrington, associate director for volunteers in missions at the International Mission Board, said. He remembered some of his non-Christian friends referred to a group of believers on campus as “the God Squad.”
“They created such an atmosphere of separation that they couldn’t communicate with (non-Christians),” he explained. “They missed every opportunity to minister.”
Warrington and Karen Gilbert, a special assistant for the IMB’s volunteers in missions program, led the Aug. 11 seminar, “Prayer: Igniting Your Campus for Christ,” during Student Week ’97 at Lake Junaluska (N.C.). They challenged students to humble themselves and pray for the lost on their campuses.
“When you go in judging people, you’re not going to win them,” Warrington told the students. “Do you really want to ignite your campus for Christ? Then do what Jesus said, become like a child.
“When you are totally and completely dependent on the Father, I believe that is when you will change your campus and … your world. It won’t happen through pride or self-centeredness.”
Gilbert told students the real battle they face “is not on your campus, it’s in the heavens. There are strongholds raised up against the knowledge of God out there, but the prayers of Christians are divinely powerful. Ask God to tear down the strongholds on your campus and build in their place a willingness to desire, know and follow God.
“You can wrap your arms around every person on your campus through prayer,” she said. “There is nobody on your campus that God doesn’t want to bring to a saving knowledge of him.”
What can students pray for specifically? Gilbert gave several suggestions, including:
— for God’s vision to carry out his work on their campus.
— for help in seeing the real needs of their campus — the “cry of the hearts of students” and how to meet them.
— for the salvation of every student, faculty member and administrator.
— for school administrators to make wise decisions and be open to Christian groups on campus.
— for the ministry of other Christian groups on campus, such as Campus Crusade for Christ and InterVarsity, and a spirit of unity among all believers on campus.
— for churches near their campus.
Gilbert urged students to use Scripture in their prayer times, especially Psalms, Proverbs and prayers from the Pauline epistles.
She also encouraged students to avoid the mistake of expecting their non-Christian peers to act like they’re saved.
“When you start praying for them, God will give you insights as to what their needs are and how you can help them,” she said. “He will help you see the students on our campus the way he sees them.
“God changes not only the object of prayers; he changes the pray-er too. He will change your attitudes, your approaches.”
Student Week, held Aug. 10-15 at Lake Junaluska and Aug. 9-15 at Glorieta (N.M.) Baptist Conference Center, was sponsored by the Baptist Sunday School Board’s national student ministry.

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  • Chip Alford