Do you care about reaching the lost? College can be a time of action as well as a time of preparation. Sophomore students Christina Patches and Tim Kuepfer have chosen to make evangelism a priority during their college years.
Christina was initially attracted to Sattler for its classes in counseling and human trafficking. She took an evangelism class her second semester and found it to be a practical, hands-on class. Instead of studying to pass an exam, students committed to an hour of prayer every week. For homework, they shared the gospel every week with at least one person. “If you know me, I’m kind of a quiet person, so this whole missions-outreach thing is a little stretching for me,” Christina said.
In spite of her shyness, Christina persevered. She found that meals at the American Dormitories, where Sattler students mingle with students from all over the world, are a great place to strike up conversations. She also learned the importance of prayer in evangelism. As an example, she was talking to a young woman from Kazakhstan once and didn’t know how to make the transition to sharing the gospel. She prayed that God would open an opportunity, and almost immediately afterwards, the young woman asked, “Why do you study the Bible?” This opened a wonderful opportunity for Christina to share her faith.
Although sharing the gospel can be scary, Christina embraces the opportunity. “I guess that’s part of the reason I’m here: I’m hoping what I learn at Sattler will prepare me to reach out to other people with the gospel,” she said.
Tim Kuepfer made the decision to attend Sattler College largely to gain tools for evangelism. “For many years I wanted to do evangelism, and I tried and tried and never really got anywhere," he said. Tim’s move to Boston with his wife and two children was fed by that frustration. “Coming here and actually seeing fruit and feeling like I’m being a successful evangelist just opened up my whole world,” he said.
Part of this change happened through evangelism class, where he gained the tools he needed to facilitate sharing the gospel. Another huge part of the change is simply that there are so many opportunities in Boston. A pivotal moment occurred for Tim when he shared the gospel with a young man from China who had never heard of Jesus. “That conversation was really eye-opening to me about the need for evangelism here in Boston,” he said.
He also realized in a deeper way the need for strategic thinking in evangelism. “Rather than thinking, ‘Where am I going to be most comfortable?’" Tim said, "think about the most strategic spot for doing evangelism and making disciples. Boston is a really amazing place to do this. There are people here who may not even have heard the gospel, and they’re a lot more receptive to it. With so many cultures and different people, it’s a great place to build a multi-ethnic church by doing evangelism among all kinds of different cultures. You’re living where people are. If someone is interested in evangelism, coming to Boston to study whatever you’re studying is going to be a good move.”
Tim, along with Christina and other students from evangelism class, started a club called the “Matthew 29 Union.” There is no 29th chapter in Matthew, you say? You’re right. The students named their group for what comes after the Great Commission. They work to fulfill Jesus’ command like the early Christians of Acts. The Matthew 29 Union meets every week to pray for evangelism, to discuss strategies, and to encourage each other in their mission efforts. Just as in evangelism class, members commit to sharing the gospel with someone every week.
Tim has found many opportunities, whether that’s joining with other married students to reach out to the Hindu community in their apartment building, or talking to Yawo, a middle-aged man from Togo, Africa. Yawo and Tim studied the Sermon on the Mount together and Yawo “was really willing to soak in the teachings and to believe them.” He now attends church functions with Tim and plans to become a part of the regular church body.
“Being involved in this kind of a ministry while you’re at college is amazing,” Tim said, “because you can put a lot of things you’re learning in classes and reading in books to use, right now, to build the kingdom of God while you’re in college. My vision is that this Matthew 29 Union can grow, and after college there can be some movement of really committed evangelists in different kingdom churches throughout the U.S.”
If you’re passionate about evangelism, consider joining Christina and Tim at Sattler College. Use your college years not only to learn and earn a degree, but to leverage your growing knowledge to build God’s Kingdom, right now.