NN avigating as a Seventh-day Adventist student at a secular or non-Christian university has its many challenges, but the church, through its Public Campus Ministries, wants to reassure students that they are not alone; that they care about their academic success, spiritual growth, and unique leadership skills in sharing the gospel where they are. This was the core message during a recent PCM Virtual Convocation (September 11–13, 2020) that drew nearly 100 students and church leaders from the English- and French-speaking territory of the Inter-American Division (IAD).
University students and young professionals from dozens of campus associations or fellowships were reminded of the purpose of belonging to a public campus ministry, how to grow spiritually, as well as to understand, defend, and share their faith as they fulfill the mission of the church.
“Grow intellectually, but don’t forget to grow in Jesus as you have new experiences with Him everyday,” said Pastor Elie Henry, president of the church in Inter-America. Pastor Henry reminded university students that discipleship growth takes time and effort as they set and achieve goals, gain knowledge, and effect change in their lives and the lives of those around them.
“Set an example where you are at university, in the classroom or online, at home or in your place of work,” said Pastor Henry. “Set an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity, as you witness for Him. It’s about understanding your role as witnesses of the love of Jesus,” he continued. “Be like Jesus, talk, behave like Jesus wherever you are.”
The aim is to transform students into ambassadors of Christ on campuses, in churches, communities, and the world at large, said Pastor Pako Mogkwane, associate youth director in charge of public campus ministries for the Adventist world church. “We want to make sure you as young people are disciples of Christ and are empowered to share the everlasting gospel on campus, and be involved in mission,” he said.
Mogkwane reassured students during the online presentation that, under the youth ministries department, as of August 1, 2020, public campus ministries at the world level would continue to thrive and get to another level, thanks to the foundation established by Jiwan Moon, former PCM director for the Adventist world church. Mogkwane said that, together as a team of divisions and unions around the world, PCM can foster intercultural movements and build on various experiences and realities together as part of the church’s I Will Go strategic plan of focusing on mission, spiritual growth, and leadership led by the Holy Spirit.
Next year, will see a joint initiative of Global Youth Day and Global PCM Day, to be held on the same day in March, said Mogkwane. It was important to combine efforts and blend youth and young adults in mission service starting in 2021, he added.
The online convocation was organized to motivate Adventist students on non-Adventist university campuses to achieve excellence within their scope and competence during the new academic year, said Pastor Balvin Braham, associate Public Campus Ministries director for the church in Inter-America.
“We want you to be assured of the support of your church,” said Braham. “You are the future leaders of both society and the church, and we know that you’re uniquely qualified to participate in the fulfillment of the mission of Christ.”
The dozens of students viewing the program represented hundreds of students spread out in 42 PCM groups or Adventist fellowships across the English Caribbean, Belize, Jamaica, and Dutch Caribbean regions, reported Braham. The eleven-hour online event featured several presentations, seminars, student panel discussions, and Q&A sessions, as well as prayer sessions, musical numbers, and devotional messages.
Pastor Hiram Ruiz, public campus ministries director for the church in Inter-America, encouraged university students to stay active in being part of a PCM group. Ruiz cited a recent survey by Lifeway Research, which showed a 70% drop-out rate from church among people between the ages of 18 and 22.
“We don’t want Adventist students to lose interest or lose their identity as they learn to become adults,” said Ruiz. “PCM is about first becoming disciples of Jesus, becoming leaders, involved in evangelism and active in serving in the community, so we want disciples to understand their unique identity, to understand their distinct vision as leaders and ambassadors of Christ with a mission to serve the church, the community, and the whole world.”He further emphasized it’s as simple as following Jesus, embracing His mission, and changing the world.
University students were challenged to become part of the large network of online witnesses, sharing their unique stories and connecting with others on campus and social media—becoming stronger digital evangelists.
Organizers pointed to new resources and a new PCM application that will be launched during the upcoming Global PCM Weekend event, to be held online by the Adventist world church on October 16–18, 2020. The virtual event will include Spanish and French translations.
To view the online event:
Opening program, Sept. 11, HERE
Sabbath afternoon program, Sept. 12, HERE