Monday, June 25, 2012

Paradigm Shift

Back in 2010 we decided to work in four of the six areas of Santiago with concentrations of college students. We wanted to see students take ownership of reaching every student in Santiago. There are over 500,000 students in higher education in the city. We chose four of the six areas to work in because we had students in two and missionary staff to start ministries in two more. It did not seem prudent to do more. Our heart was to trust God to give every student the opportunity to know Jesus. At the start of the second semester a guy contacted us from a university with campuses in the other two areas of town. We met and two weeks later we were sitting down with 6 students to see what God might do through a student ministry at the Univ. Santa Maria (USM). A month later we shared with a group of 12 classmates of one of the students and began a small group that met for several weeks to learn more about the gospel and a relationship with God. One of those students started a relationship with God and is passionate about sharing with others today. While Lisset and I were gone, for a whole year, a short term missionary, Bridgette from North Carolina, along with Nele from Germany and Patricio, one of our Chilean missionaries continued to go to the university. During May of this year (2012) I returned to the USM. Two students are leading a group there with about 10 students involved. We had the honor of presenting a certificate of recognition to the members of the group who had completed a study series covering the basic aspects of the Christian life. Last week we started a series of trainings to prepare students to share the gospel more effectively. The challenge before this group is a need for a change in paradigm. The paradigm of participation in Christian activities will have to be given up and in its place a paradigm of mission (making disciples of Jesus) needs to grow. If these 10 to 15 students are content to participate in a group, it is unlikely that each of the 13,000 students at USM will have the opportunity to hear a clear presentation of the gospel during their years at the university. This morning I read Acts 10, where we find God’s grace at work, bringing Peter to a radical paradigm shift (10:34). As a result the church at that time had to figure out a bunch of things. In Acts 15 we see the church sorting out the problems that this paradigm shift created. The thing about a paradigm shift is that it affects the community but it can divide the community unless each person is able to perceive it. Please pray for the community of students at USM. Ask God to help the team and each member to grasp the mission He has put before them.