We have already come such a long way. And the future is exciting. Whether directly or indirectly, you just might have a role to play in it.
Until recently, most people did not equate the PAOC with university ministry. That is coming to an end. We now have ministry expressions on over 50 campuses across the country … and we are adding more! In fact, we have a vision to add at least another 20 campuses by 2020 in our efforts to reach every campus in our nation by whatever means. It is both an incredible challenge and opportunity.
This June, dozens of those with a stake in this vision converged for our first National Campus Ministry Summit, where we shared, dreamed and strategized about what God might do in and through us in the coming years. Just imagine what might happen when the collective firepower of our Fellowship is harnessed and focused to reach the campuses of our nation!
We have already come such a long way.
And the future is exciting.
Whether directly or indirectly, you just might have a role to play in it.
We are both a network of campus ministries as well as a missionary-sending agency which can strategically place campus workers in “gaps” where the church must be present. Mission Canada’s first missionary, Trevor Gingerich, began The Embassy at Humber, which started with just a handful of students. Today, a full room gathers every Monday night for worship, time in the Word, and teaching on relevant topics. Our focus at Humber College, a sprawling institution of over 30,000 full- and part-time students on the north side of Toronto, now includes a campus church, student club, weekly one-on-one meetings with students, club events and more. Since he began, Trevor has found that the work is more fulfilling than he could ever have imagined, and he has seen the ministry on this busy campus flourish.
The Embassy has found genuine favour with the college. This has been hard-earned by seeking to add value to Humber and provide programming that is relevant to the student population. In fact, a recent article in a Humber publication highlighted the positive difference The Embassy has made in the lives of Humber students. Incidentally, The Embassy’s slogan “Ain’t Yo Gramma’s Church” is meant to humorously communicate to students that this is not church as some may have imagined it. It doesn’t fit stereotypes, and it is worth checking out.
Over the past several years, God has used The Embassy to intercept students on the wrong trajectory and to see them discipled and equipped to be the leaders they were called to be. It has been so encouraging to see the quality of Trevor’s work at Humber, and to know that students will not only be well cared for but will also be given the tools to actually grow in Christ while pursuing their studies.
Just two years ago, Mission Canada’s David Burke began LifeLine at Ryerson University, right in the heart of Toronto’s downtown core. Ryerson is a large multicultural, international university of 38,000 students who represent 147 countries right in the epicentre of downtown Toronto. It is a meeting place of 75 per cent of the world’s nations. It has enormous influence in developing our future leaders in fields such as media and the arts. And it is enormously underserved by the Christian community. Thankfully, LifeLine is there.
The vision of LifeLine is to see young adults come to know Christ, be discipled in their faith while preparing for their futures, and to make a tangible difference in their world. They integrate fellowship and teaching around food, fervent prayer and innovative outreach. Thanks to David’s pastoral experience growing up in downtown Toronto, he is able to lead students to reach out to the downtown homeless community. By way of personal comment, what Ryerson’s student union might provide in social justice rhetoric, LifeLine actually does. It doesn’t just talk about it. Starting as a dream and a vision in David’s heart, LifeLine has become a vibrant community of students who are passionate about Jesus. It is so encouraging to see the quality of student leaders who are gathering together with David to form the LifeLine community. Truly, they are throwing out a lifeline for students who need help and hope as they face the challenges of life. We must be in these places.
Dr. Robb Powell is the national Mission Canada co-ordinator for Campus Ministries.
Campus Mission Canada is the PAOC’s network of campus ministries across the country. This network is diverse, having more than one type of ministry option. We employ what we call the C5 approach, which includes Chaplaincies, Clubs, Campus Churches, Church-based ministries and Creative ventures. Each campus ministry utilizes one or more of these models. We don’t have to be confined to a single approach. C5 allows us to be flexible and creative in our approach to the university campus.
We would love to have a conversation with you if you are interested in university or college ministry for whatever reason. We need people who pray. We need practical and financial support in reaching hundreds of thousands of students for Christ. We need people who can volunteer their time and expertise to help us fulfil our mandate to “Reach Every Campus.” Don’t sit on the sidelines—find out how you can get involved today.
Dr. Robb Powell is the national Mission Canada co-ordinator for Campus Ministries. He has over 30 years’ experience in church and campus ministry. Visit www.campusmission.ca or call Robb directly at 905-542-7400. To donate, go to www.paoc.org/canada/priorities/campus.