Starting two years ago, every night at 10:02, students from my InterVarsity chapter prayed Luke 10:2. “He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”We knew the harvest on our campus was plentiful and we saw the need for workers at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. This year, we are seeing God answer that prayer.
Last year, our chapter had eight small group Bible study leaders on a campus of 30,000 undergraduate students. I was one of those eight. There were so many students and so few leaders that over 20 people came to my small group from week to week. With a group of that size, discussing Bible passages and building community was challenging. We needed more leaders.
As our chapter does each year, we invited a new group of students into leadership for the following year at the end of the fall semester. This time, 24 students accepted the invitation to lead a small group. God provided the workers we needed.
With three times as many small group leaders as last year, we’re excited to see how God will use our small groups to reach more of our campus.
More plans, more prayer
Because of our growth, planning for ministry as an executive leadership team looks a little different this fall. We have more leaders to support and train, while some small group leaders want to establish Bible studies on new areas of campus. Meanwhile, we have started rethinking our chapter’s leadership training curriculum, structure of Bible studies, and format of our weekly large group meetings.
At times in our executive leadership meetings, it can feel like we have too much to do, too much to plan, too many possibilities. In those moments, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lack direction. But we have a strategy. Just like when we didn’t have enough leaders and began praying, we’ve discovered the power of asking God when we make challenging decisions.
This is what Mike Crossley, last year’s chapter president, found when our chapter’s executive leadership team started inviting God into difficult situations.
Two years ago we were learning about the power of prayer and depending on God. Our executive team felt led to change our meetings accordingly, adding more prayer and worship at the beginning. We also started sharing testimonies of what we saw God doing in our lives and on our campus to increase our faith. Even so, we still had problems agreeing on and finishing our agenda.
This past year we decided to make another change and pray whenever we faced a difficult issue. We asked the Lord for guidance and wisdom, spent time listening, shared what we received and prayed together from a place of faith in what God said.
Almost immediately the arguing stopped, and we moved forward in unanimous agreement. Then one day we finished our agenda half an hour early! This happened consistently the last few months of the semester.
We took the time to pray more and bless each other and thank the Lord. We left refreshed and encouraged because we saw God leading our chapter.
This year, we’re applying that lesson to our meetings as we face major changes in our ministry.
We’ll plan. We’ll prepare. We’ll train. And above all, we’ll pray. So far, that’s been our best strategy.