A year ago, we couldn’t remember the last time someone decided to follow Jesus as a result of our ministry. We also couldn’t tell any specific stories of sharing the gospel. In that same year, 9 ASU students died, most from suicide. We were broken-hearted for those students, for our campus, and for the lack of fruit we were seeing in the midst of it all. A sense of holy discontent was starting to crescendo for us as we were facing relative fruitlessness, ministry decline, and the many crises happening across campus. The tug of war for us was simply trying to keep students in regular attendance at our weekly meeting and trying to exist for more than just maintaining attendance.
One area where we saw a glaring issue was sharing the gospel – we weren’t doing it. Our top 1% of students would share the gospel occasionally. We celebrated it when it happened, but I rarely heard stories of students sharing the gospel. I also didn’t have stories to tell of sharing the gospel personally.
We lacked two things – expectation and training.
This year we started regularly communicating our expectation of 100% obedience. We expect every staff and student to be obedient to the Jesus’ command to make disciples. We tell them this. All the time. And we build loving accountability for sharing the gospel in our regular ministry rhythm. And we model it for them.
Expectation was a critical component for us, but training everyone with some simple tools to help them actually make good on this expectation was just as critical. It isn’t fair to try to hold someone accountable for something they don’t actually know how to do. The first step for every Christian student is training them.
A couple of years ago, we set the goal that our entire ministry (around 80 people) would share the gospel 100 times throughout the school year. By the end of the year, we shared the gospel 3 times. THREE. Only around 1% of our people were sharing the gospel. We lacked expectation, accountability, and training, and I wasn’t modeling it myself. Our results should have been no surprise.
This fall semester alone our ministry (now around 20 people) shared the gospel over 300 times! We had a radical decrease in students but an exponential increase in gospel shares. Turning the corner toward 100% obedience set a bar that lots of people weren’t willing to meet. But it wasn’t our bar – it was Jesus’ bar. Our numbers aren’t as important as the trends they represent. One of the most exciting results was actually seeing 100% of our ministry be 100% faithful to the great commission.