Let’s Fish Below the Dam
Imagine a million salmon migrating up the mighty Columbia River. They elude nets and fishermen until they reach the first dam. In the pool below it they gather in a great swirling, seething, churning mass of moving bodies. No fisherman who has seen the sight will ever forget it.
Only a few of those fish will find the fish ladder and pass the dam. From Christian homes today 4,000,000 students are at secular colleges and universities. Perhaps 1.2 million of them are earnestly dedicated to Christ. Over 17,000 of them were at Urbana '76; half of them indicated their willingness to be missionaries should God call them. In other meetings, retreats, camps and conferences across the nation an estimated 20,000 "missionary decisions" are made each year.
But... informed Christians find small comfort in those facts. The "dam" of secularism is awesomely effective. Few students ever pass from precandidate status to become active missionary candidates.
The above 1.3 million dedicated Christian students are products of a humanistic society. Their career foundation is being laid during four years at a secular college or university. This is true of at least 85% of Christian students in the U.S.
They are forced to make a career decision on inadequate data. Their spiritual potential is stifled by the secular miasma in which they live and move and have their being. These young people deserve an opportunity to see the world as God sees it. Only this experience will permit them to make intelligent Christian career decisions.
To try to rechannel the 1.3 million students into four year terms at Christian colleges is not viable. Neither facilities nor force to do it exist. Nevertheless, the present reality is a vast tragedy. Four years of "higher education" without a glimmer of God's purpose for mankind! How deadly is the desert of secularism. What a waste of lives results. Millions of students make career decisions without knowing facts on which alone a God-guided decision can be made.
A practical alternative is at hand for such students. A college campus is being purchased for the purpose of giving them a divine perspective on the world.
The focus is pre-vocational. The aim is simple. Students are not pressured to make a "missionary decision," nor are they given missionary training. For missionary candidates excellent facilities elsewhere exist to impart needed skills, but 85% of the dedicated Christian students in the U.S. never reach the level where that choice confronts them.
Here is the plan Students are invited to leave their secular school for a one-semester intensive course in our special mix of Christian orientation which we call "international studies." Credit is available by transcript for transfer to any college or university.
Here in Pasadena these students are afforded a thrilling spiritual experience. Suddenly they are among scores of likeminded youth. Outstanding mission leaders, executives and professors are flown in from all over the U.S. to address them and answer their questions. Such reality is like a voice out of eternity for young people who want God's will. Results are transformed lives.
This one-semester experience is an oasis in the educational desert of secularism. It is a valid alternative to four years of unrelieved humanism.
Thus, now Christian students have a valid option. To get away for a totally relevant and refreshing semester! Then back to their college or university as more effective ambassadors for Christ.
The one-semester IIS concept is dynamic. It should spread and become an attraction at Christian colleges nationwide. When that occurs the full-orbed message of world missions will be given to countless thousands of Christian youth. We are fishing in a student pool that could flood all present Christian college facilities.
Let's fish below the dam.