“What is the reason that you exist as a child of God in this day, in this generation, in this culture, in this place? What is God’s eternal purpose in real time for you today?”
Dr. Phil Hunt, a missionary to Zambia and the chapel speaker for this year’s Missions Emphasis Week, challenged the BJU family to re-evaluate their lives in light of the Great Commission. In his messages throughout the week, he emphasized that believers’ lives should not be spent in pursuit of their own plans, but rather in fulfillment of God’s mission for His kingdom.
“God is not asking all of us in this room to be missionaries,” Dr. Hunt said, “but He has commissioned every one of us to be on mission. We’re all to be engaged in the Great Commission.”
Why Missions Emphasis Week?
Since its founding in 1927, Bob Jones University has strived “to instill in students a compelling concern for reaching the unconverted with the saving truth of the Gospel of Christ,” and BJU’s annual Missions Emphasis Week is a natural outflowing of that goal. During the week, nearly 150 mission board representatives from around the world visit campus to talk with students about their ministries’ needs and recruit for summer, short-term or long-term missions.
Will Craven, a current graduate student in cross-cultural studies, says that the representatives’ visit has always been a highlight for him. “I loved talking to the missionaries and seeing the displays and just drinking in the stories that God is at work across the planet.”
“Missions Emphasis Week is intended to give you perspective,” says Mr. Mark Vowels, the director of missions at BJU. “Think about why you’re here, think about what God is doing in the world. Think about how you fit into that.”
At BJU, Mr. Vowels says, “We want all students to embrace the reality that they are preparing for ministry. Liberal arts are a perfect platform for missions.”
Jonathan Allen, a junior Bible major from New Zealand who took a missions trip to the Philippines last summer, agrees. “With the broader education, I’ll be able to relate to more people, see where more people are coming from.”
Mr. Vowels encourages all BJU students to think creatively about missions. Participating in God’s mission to evangelize and disciple all nations is not just for Bible majors or missions majors. Other majors, such as business, English or science, may give students access to closed countries or provide opportunities to meet unlikely people.
For example, Will Craven was able to use his filmmaking skills in Cameroon. Before beginning graduate school, Will spent seven months writing, casting, shooting, editing and producing two feature-length films. These gospel-focused films, acted by an entirely Cameroonian cast in their own language, will be used as evangelistic tools throughout Cameroon.
One BJU graduate was able to use her apparel, textiles and design major in Bangladesh, serving for two years with a small, missionary-founded handicraft business for widows and handicapped people. Another BJU graduate, also in Bangladesh, has started a coffee shop and employed Muslims in order to open up witnessing opportunities.
“BJU is uniquely set up to produce missions-minded graduates,” says Mr. Vowels. “We want to challenge our students to use their skills and education in any field to connect with people in discipleship ways.”
Blessed to Be Used
“What’s amazing is, God chooses to use us as common, ordinary people,” Dr. Hunt reminded the university family in his last chapel message of the week. “[God] calls us to love Him and embrace Him and His spirit flows through us and then He thrusts us out. And then . . . He blesses us!”
Published October 26, 2012