09 Mar University Mission in Changing Scenario
Nothing unites humankind so well as a pandemic. Consider this fact – the queen of England and the poorest of the land have the same risk of infection. The solidarity that arises from such a situation might be short-lived indeed. But, as Paul says in Ephesians 5:16, let us “make the most of our time because the days are evil”. There is no longer the frown when we bring up the subject of religion, but people are willing to lend their ears. The frailty of mankind and the sovereignty of God may be cause for rejoicing to the redeemed but a cause for worry to the unregenerate. Fresh avenues have been made open to us to witness for Christ, particularly among students. In this article let us consider some online avenues, which if rightly used could greatly benefit university mission.
1) Social media
Each one of us has an online presence with a certain amount of ‘influence’. Be it WhatsApp, Twitter, or Instagram, we could interact with students over a variety of theological topics. It could be a Gospel video, a visual tract or something that causes one to stop and think. Thinking has become a lost art. Hopefully, the lockdown induced ‘alone time’ will create opportunities for it. Let our social media posts cause one to put down their phone and meditate on the things of God.
I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways (Psalms 119:15)
2) Check the pulse
To be an effective witness for Christ on campus, we need to be aware of the ‘pulse’ of the students. We could identify common problems faced by the students. Collecting their doubts and opinions about theology may be a real eye-opener that could spot to areas where we ought to spend more efforts and expose loopholes. We have to create questionnaires keeping in mind that we need to be short, precise and to the point at the same time.
3) Discussion forums
For the debate lovers out there, we could create discussion threads on Reddit, Quora and other platforms. Whilst defending our faith it is important to be aware of the worldviews of others and to keep our conduct worthy of Christ, who did not retaliate and threaten when He suffered unjustly but entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly (1 Peter 2:23). We ought to face others with calmness, love and strength supplied from above.
God has blessed each of us with unique creative capacities. Digital paintings with intriguing captions, thought provoking poems, blog posts digital animations and many others could be used as evangelistic tools for students who spend a considerable time online. No talent is wasted when it is used for the glory of God and for the edification of the children of God.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms (1 Peter 4:10)
5) Quiz it out
A quiz on a particular book of the Bible could be a great way to spark interest among students and for them to gain a deeper knowledge of God. We need to think of effective and creative ways to help them in their study and to interpret the text rightly. Commentaries and online research tools can be used to serve the purpose.
6) Virtual connect
Though we can’t meet physically, there are plenty of ways to fellowship online (Google Meet, Zoom, etc.)Even with all its challenges, it could still make us feel less alone in this changing world. Caring and looking out for each other’s concerns is important and God-glorifying.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2)
Above all, our digital endeavors ought to pass the litmus test of “Does this glorify God?”. It is not meant for us to shrink down into doing nothing but to keep our motives pure and worthy of Him. As a wise man once said, pride comes before fall (Proverbs 16:18) and we need to guard against it by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). God has kept us alive at such a time as this when morale is low and the fields of evangelism are vast. Let us strike the iron while it is hot, shine as God’s ambassadors wherever we are planted and fight the good fight of faith.
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses (1 Timothy 6:12)
Dahlia Devapriya is a post-graduate student serving as a student leader in MIT campus, and part of Tambaram ICEU, Chennai