This is an article from the May 1983 issue: Meet the Generals

Are Your College Students Missing Out?

Are Your College Students Missing Out?

The Institute of International Studies (ITS) offers a unique introductory course in missions. This class has had tremendous impact in the lives of the 2.000 students who have been through the course since 1976. Formerly offered only as a summer class, "Perspectives on the World Christian Movement" is now available for group study anywhere in the country. By successfully completing both the "Perspectives" course and a coordinator training workshop, an individual can take [IS back to his or her home town or college campus. One person who is currently coordinating a "Perspectives" study program is Rob Malone. on Inter Varsity staff member in Pennsylvania. Sue Richard, of the 115 staff, recently interviewed him to oak about his experience as a coordinator.

IIS: What made you decide to coordinate a "Perspectives" study program?

Rob: Gad is creating an interest in the hearts of many students in His worldwide mission, but these students tack information which would help them decide where they fit into what God is doing. I've found the "Perspectives" program to give the essential foundational information by which people can make intelligent decisions as to where they fit into Christ's global cause.

But "Perspectives" is more than just an academic experience. It causes people to move out and get involved in the cause right now, either as senders or goers. Some of these students are serving on their church mission boards, sharing with their churches the information and challenge they received through the course.

IIS: What would you soy are the benefits and costs of coordinating a program like this,

Rob: Let me start with the benefits:

Many Christians know that Cod has a plan for our lives as individuals, but God also has a plan for the nations. Somehow, God's plan for us personally has got to connect with His plan for the nations. I think this course gives students the information about Cods plan for the nations that enables them to make career decisions which are connected with Gads plan for the world. It is a privilege to watch students discover God's heart for the world and then to watch them as they see how they fit into Cod's big picture.

Another personal benefit is that as a "Perspectives" coordinator I am able to be directly involved with a group of people who are serious about being World Christians. I can serve these students by providing a kind of skeleton of topics, issues, and concerns which they may not otherwise consider.

Of course, another benefit for the students is that they can learn about the impact of Christianity in the world and earn college credit at the same time. I think that's unique, even for students at Christi..'IE&ols, And these students became more confident in their personal faith as they see how the Lord is changing the world through she spread of His Kingdom!

As far as costs:

Time is the major thing. I began doing the groundwork for the course a whole year before we could begin the class. Now that the class is in progress I would love to be able to help each student grapple with the issues raised in class. Of course, there is much more beyond the class that we could be dealing with, but I just don't have the time to do more.

IIS. flow do you see the program affecting the students' lives?

Rob: One of the primary effects is that the students' prayer lives have changed dramatically. The priorities within their prayer time, the length of time they spend in prayer, and the focus of their prayers have all changed. Now they focus on praying for "on reached peoples."

Some students have started prayer meetings far revival, awakening, and world evangelization.

Others are organizing traveling teams to call lay people, and student fellowships to commitment. A third thing the students have been thinking about is using the course content to put together a one day seminar for use with Sunday School classes or church mission committees. I am encouraged because see the students taking action, not just sitting back and intellectualizing about missions. Cod is grabbing their hearts and they are interfacing with the speakers, materials, and each other.

The students and I are also being challenged in our outreach on campus. As we are involved in evangelism, we are taking seriously differences in world view and lifestyle so that we can have compassion and identify with those who are from a different background.

I think the "Perspectives" pro' gram is actually contributing to an ongoing student missions movement. It is building students who are serious about God's plan for the world, they are willing to lay down their lives to see God's Kingdom expand worldwide.

IIS: What suggestions would you give to others who would consider coordinating a "Perspectives" study program?

Rob: Although it might be obvious, I recommend that they go through the course in Pasadena. The coordinator serves as a guide for the students and so needs to know how all the pieces of the class fit together.

I think it is important for the potential coordinator to evaluate his/her time constraints to see if he has the time to invest in the pro gram, both in laying the groundwork before the class begins, and in spending time with the students during the class. Insufficient time will cripple the coordinator.

A potential coordinator should also evaluate the interest of perspective participants in his area. Maybe an informal study program could be organized prior to planning a larger class. Then those who have completed the informal program could assist the coordinator in recruiting others for the larger program.

Finally, it is very important to build trust relationships with the credit granting institution, For example, since I have taken the time with Geneva College to explain

the vision and purpose behind HIS, they have been very cooperative in allowing students to take the "Perspectives" class to fill a history, humanities, or a free elective requirement toward their degree. Geneva could be supportive because they respected the academic quality of the "Perspectives" program.


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