Student Volunteer Movement 2
Calling a New Generation
There is nothing like mission vision on a campus to light the fire of young students to connect to God and His purpose for the world. While I was a student at Columbia International University, students challenged me as much as the faculty and school leaders. I’ll never forget one student drawing on a napkin the redemptive story of the Bible and the “aha!” experience that was “Hey, this is for me. I, too, am designed by God to connect with His purpose.” The principle is the same today:
students connecting with God and one another through prayer and vision-sharing produce growth in the mission movement. It happened before in the Student Volunteer Movement of the 19th and 20th centuries, and it may be happening again.
During August 29-31, 2002 eight leaders from various backgrounds gathered in Orlando, Florida to discuss their dream for the emergence of a widespread and united student mission movement. Over these few days much prayer was offered for wisdom toward initial steps. The group came away with drafts of strategies and with plans to meet again with others for prayer in just over a month.
On October 4, 2002, 13 people gathered for prayer on the campus of Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. They spent the day praying for world needs and mission interest among students. Though it was cold and raining much of the day, some of the time was spent in prayer around the monument to the Haystack Prayer Meeting of students in 1806. There was no announcement regarding the SVM2 meeting, but throughout the day word began to spread and several InterVarsity students joined in. Toward the end of the day, the InterVarsity leader on campus shared with some emotion, “Four of us on this campus have been praying for the exact same thing you have spent the day praying for: world evangelization and new mission fervor among students. We are so glad to see that there are others who share this vision.” Her words were yet another confirmation to those present that they were on the right track. Every mission movement and revival of the past has been born out of disciplined, persevering and united prayer.
Signs of hope
From that October 2002 day of prayer, the vision of SVM2 (Student Volunteer Movement 2) was born, and a student mission network has begun to grow. SVM2 has hosted “Abandoned Devotion Prayer Gatherings” in Chicago, Atlanta, Denver and Los Angeles, with students from a variety of organizational and denominational backgrounds attending.
Each gathering has featured common elements, but each has also expressed unique and unexpected themes. “Abandoned Devotion” is an eight-hour day of prayer and fasting focused on global proclamation and the student world. The day generally has begun with worship focused on the attributes of God and His glory in the nations, with time then provided for personal repentance and corporate prayer for the world. Throughout the day video clips have portrayed the sacrifice of mission, the world of Islam, and reports from missionaries.
A few short exhortations have been given from the Word of God on repentance, sacrifice, commitment and the importance of the Holy Spirit in mission. Finally, the vision of SVM2 has been shared.
These gatherings have become launching pads for “Bands of Message Bearers”–small groups of students on campuses and in churches meeting to pray for revival and world missions. Some groups preceded SVM2 and have received new encouragement; others are newly-formed. In addition to Bible and Christian college campuses, local chapters from InterVarsity, Navigators, Campus Crusade, Chi Alpha, Victory Campus Ministries and other campus ministries are participating in growing measure.
One aspect of seeing the vision realized is having a common call among evangelical students toward mission commitment. The “Message Bearer Creed” is a straightforward challenge to discipleship, prayer and vision-sharing, and a two-year commitment to serve among the least-reached upon graduation. Not everyone is ready for this level of involvement, but a surprising number have already signed up. Once the connection is made, SVM2 is sending a monthly newsletter for continued encouragement.
Where from here?
In future months SVM2 will be hosting prayer gatherings in Ontario, Vancouver, British Columbia, and the Chicago area, with possible additions in Dallas and Richmond, Virginia.
If you are interested in learning more about SVM2, helping to sponsor one of these prayer gatherings in your area or on your campus, or receiving materials to share the SVM2 vision, visit the Website http://www.SVM2.net or contact Kelly at [email protected].