One of the hardest things about moving was leaving behind the disciple-making movement at Hancock College in Santa Maria. But I do get to go back about once a month to do evangelism with them on campus and teach at their large group gathering. When I was there just a few weeks ago, I taught our first session of Hermeneutics (Bible interpretation). There were about 20 students there at Carol’s house for dinner and our study (as you can see in the picture)!
Until I return and teach the next hermeneutics sessions in a few weeks, the three student leaders will continue to teach the apologetics class that they themselves went through last year. I am thankful that they enjoy having me come back to visit, but I am also thankful that the ministry continues without my local leadership. Praise the Lord - they don’t need me!
The Yorks now live in Folsom. We are so thankful that we are already seeing the Lord’s blessing on this new era of being in the greater Sacramento area. To the left you’ll see our Soularium spiritual survey table setup at American River College. I am there every Wednesday connecting with spiritually interested students.
It is encouraging to remember that this is exactly how ministry began at Hancock College in Santa Maria about a year ago. Now, there is a thriving ministry reaching Hancock College: three retired folks and three key student leaders sharing the Gospel and leading Bible studies on campus. They also have a weekly meeting where they eat a meal together and study apologetics. Our prayer is that the Lord would do a similar work here at American River College. And Folsom Lake College. And Sacramento City College. And Sierra College. And Cosumnes River College. And Modesto Junior College. And Delta College… and the many other community colleges in the Sacramento area and beyond.
Modesto Junior College is just like all the other 113 community colleges in California. Students are busy studying for classes, working a job or two to make ends meet, and attempting to sort through the brokenness of their families, their friends, and their communities. Many of these students are very ready to open up about their lives and talk about spiritual things.
My good friend Chinh is the pastor of young adults and outreach at a Manteca church. Now that I live only an hour away, I get to go on campus regularly with him and his team (including a handful of retired folks from his church) to help them start a community of disciple-makers on campus.
Last week we had the privilege of sharing the Gospel with a few dozen students. Oh what an honor it is to share the Gospel from John 3:16 and hear a student say, “No, I’ve never heard this before.”
We’ve been living on the Central Coast for a year and a half, and what a precious time it has been! In the picture to the left you can see the students who came to our last apologetics class at our home before we move. Each of these students has been such a significant part of our lives here on the Central Coast. Now what? We are moving to Folsom! We will be focusing on the six community colleges in the Sacramento area. Though we will certainly miss ministry here on the Central Coast, we celebrate that:
We leave behind a disciple-making movement at Hancock College in Santa Maria (and Lompoc!) that has three gifted volunteer leaders (local retirees), and a handful of solid student-leaders sharing their faith and making disciples on campus. And several of the student leaders will continue to teach the Bible School classes at the weekly meeting! The Cuesta College ministry continues to thrive, and the apologetics class that we did at our home will continue; one of the students will be hosting and leading it after we leave.
“Do what?” I asked. “The ‘convince-me-that-Christianity-is-not-true’ table!” Jessica replied.
So now they are gonna do it! In this picture you’ll see Davina, Jessica and Leo, our student leaders at Hancock College. We met them just under a year ago doing evangelism on campus, and for the past year they’ve been self-described ‘sponges’ excited to learn everything they can about living out their faith. They have absolutely loved our apologetics class, and their confidence in their faith has turned them into evangelists on campus.
It is so exciting to hear them dreaming about how to engage other students with the Gospel!
Some of our Hancock students organized a beach bonfire worship night a few weeks ago; it was a wonderful evening! I love seeing how the Lord continues to build this community and move us forward in accomplishing our vision of helping others to KNOW Christ, GROW in their faith, and GO make disciples.
Just yesterday I was visiting with a few of our key student leaders (Davina and Leo), and I was sharing with them about how each of them could have such a huge impact on campus for years to come by simply discipling a few incoming students next year. Their excitement at the thought of being so influential for the Gospel in the lives of others reminded me of when I had the same realization so many years ago - the realizing that God could use me!
As the school year wraps up here on the Central Coast, we are celebrating our Cuesta Cru student leaders who invested so much of their time and energy into reaching their campus with the Gospel. Above is a collage I made of some pictures from the year. On the top you’ll see the pictures of our six student leaders. In the middle is the group picture we took just a few days ago at our last large group gathering of the year.
Other pictures tell the stories of our outreach BBQ to kick off the year, retreats, a mission trip to Cuba, and evangelism on campus.
At our large group gathering the other night we had ‘open-mic time’ for students to celebrate what God has done in their lives throughout the year. The common theme:
“I am so thankful that God connected me with this Christian community… I have grown so much in my faith!”
Praise the Lord for the changed lives this year at Cuesta College and Hancock College!
Please pray for vibrant, evangelistic, disciple-making communities like these on community college campuses all over California.
At the beginning of the fall semester we met Jessica at Hancock College. She was the first student we met at the Hancock College satellite campus in Lompoc, and we started a Bible study with her. Nine months later, and we are celebrating what the Lord has done this year.
Above is a picture of many of our key students at Hancock College. Months ago, Jessica invited a few students to go to Olive Garden for lunch, and it became a weekly event! For the entire semester students have been meeting for lunch every Wednesday at the Olive Garden. Each of these students is loved dearly by Jesus, and He has shown His love to each through each other.
Oh, how precious is the gathering of the saints!
One of our student leaders, Leo, went with me recently to engage students in our spiritual survey on campus at Hancock College (pictured left). We talked with a young man who wasn’t sure what he believes about God, but is “just focusing on school right now.” What a privilege it was to be used by the Lord to help him consider: “If Jesus really did die and rise again, and if he really does offer us eternal, forgiven and fulfilling life…. Do you think it would be worth your time and energy to investigate? If it is true, doesn’t that change…. EVERYTHING?”
Thank you for joining us in equipping Leo to share his faith and make disciples on campus at Hancock College.
Thank you for joining us in inviting students to consider how Jesus "changes everything”.
Oh how I enjoy teaching our informal Bible school! College students ARE asking the most important questions:
We are now doing our hermeneutics class in Arroyo Grande at the York home, and apologetics classes in both Santa Maria and Lompoc at the homes of our volunteer leaders for Hancock College. In addition, a Cuesta College student who went through the apologetics class last semester is teaching the class in Creston at his home church.
Yes, there are community colleges all over the country! And yes, there are Christians that are wanting to multiply disciples on these campuses! Our focus on community colleges is giving us a unique opportunity to come alongside ministries all over the country to offer training and resources for starting movements on community college campuses.
In a few weeks, I have the privilege of hosting a 1-hour video conference on “How to start a disciple-making movement on a community college campus.” So far, we have about a dozen Cru staff participating.
In the picture above you can see a few of our Cru students at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo sharing their faith using the Soularium picture survey. Wouldn’t that be wonderful to see a movement of students-reaching-students on every single community college in the country?
Lompoc is a small town on the coast about an hour south of San Luis Obispo. The main Hancock College campus is in Santa Maria, but there is a small satellite campus there in Lompoc. Jim (pictured above at the table) loves Jesus and loves college students… and he has time because he is retired! He goes on campus with me every Wednesday in Lompoc to share the Gospel with students and invite students to study the Bible with us. We now have a Bible study with two students every Wednesday morning on campus!
One of these students is Jessica (pictured above at the table with Jim). Jessica is now learning how to share her faith on campus using the picture survey. Praise the Lord for Jim and Jessica!
Oh how wonderful it is how the Lord works! About a month ago, I was thinking how wonderful it would be to have a student going with me to Hancock College in Santa Maria to do evangelism and disciple-making there.
Then last week I was visiting with Dylan, one of the Cuesta College students I am discipling. As we were finishing our meal together, he casually asked me what I was up to the rest of the week. I told him, “Tomorrow I get to go down to Santa Maria to do evangelism on campus at Hancock College.” He immediately asked, “I’m free tomorrow; can I come?”
Dylan so enjoyed our time on campus that he went back to Hancock with me the following Wednesday and helped another student lead a Bible study on campus - about 6 students met in the cafeteria to study the Gospel of John! He also insisted that we take our picture-spiritual-survey and go mobile to talk with students about Jesus (pictured above).
Dylan now plans to come with me every Wednesday throughout the semester. Praise the Lord for the work He is doing at Hancock College and in the life of Dylan!
There is so much spiritual hunger on campus at Hancock College in Santa Maria! The reason won’t surprise you: a handful of local believers have been praying - even doing prayer walks on campus. Two of these prayer-walkers are Carol and Jim.
A local college pastor connected me to Carol. I was sharing with her about what I do on campus for evangelism and disciple-making, and she readily accepted my invitation to come check it out. She has been coming on campus weekly ever since! (You can see her doing the Soularium spiritual survey in the picture above).
And Carol invited her friend Jim to join us. Jim leads the evangelism and disciple-making ministry at the small satellite campus in Lompoc.
Praise the Lord for the fruit at Hancock:
Early this year I met Eli at the BASS Church Convention where I was doing a seminar on how to make disciples on college campuses. During my seminar I offered to come to any campus to do evangelism and disciple-making training; Eli took me up on my offer! I have already gone a handful of times up to San Jose to help Eli train his leaders; and then a few days ago I had the opportunity to spend the day on campus with them at San Jose State University. We had so many great spiritual conversations! There are many students at SJSU from India and other places in the world where the Gospel is very needed. I was reminded of the reality that THE UNREACHED OF THE WORLD ARE COMING TO US on our college campuses
Two highlights from the day:
And an amazing bonus? Their church has a heart to reach the other nearby campuses of De Anza College and Delta College as well! May the Lord continue to use them to multiply disciples!
Cuesta College just started last week! We’ve already had our Cuesta Welcome BBQ and our first large group meeting. It has been a wonderful week full of God-stories!
One of the highlights for me was the first Apologetics class at our home. We hosted these students (pictured above) for our first of nine 2-hour sessions focused on understanding the intellectual reasonableness of the Christian faith.
I am convinced that investing in a few key students will reap great dividends in the future! We are dreaming of sending students as interns all over California with the purpose of equipping the local church to make disciples who make disciples on their nearby community college campus.
The first week of classes is the best time to connect with incoming freshman on college campuses; so we had our Cru booth setup at Cuesta this week! We connected with quite a few new students. Many of them came to our Welcome BBQ at a local park (pictured below). While at the book Jose came by (pictured below). He was involved in Cru previously when he was studying at Hancock College in Santa Maria, and now that he is at Cuesta, he is connecting with us there as well. Pray for Jose and the many other new students. Pray that they’d grow in their faith, be discipled, and in turn give their lives to making disciples who make disciples.
Word got out that we are making disciples at Hancock College in Santa Maria, and I got a phone call from Jim (sitting at the table in the picture above). Jim is a local believer and has been praying along with some friends for the students at Hancock College. Jim contacted me and invited me to come show them how to do evangelism and disciple-making there.
A few days later we were at the Hancock Hello event (pictured above), an open house for new students. Many students came by our table and took our spiritual survey, and nine of them expressed interest in meeting up again on campus for Bible study!
We will be going to Hancock College every Wednesday for a few hours to do evangelism and meet with interested students, with the goal of discipling a few into disciple-makers.
Definitely one of the highlights of the summer of ’18 for the Yorks was hosting some friends from Merced who do Bridges (Cru’s international student ministry) at Merced College. JD and Kathy brought with them three Japanese students to do a retreat on the coast, and they stayed with us! Oh what a joy it was!!!
And to remember their trip they drew some pictures of some key memories.
I call him Agape-Ben because he loves the Greek word ‘Agape’ (for God’s love) and uses it regularly as a greeting. I met Ben on campus at Cuesta College last semester. He has been a follower of Jesus for a few years now, and he absolutely loves sharing his faith on campus. So Ben and I have been evangelism-buddies at Cuesta; last semester we went out twice a week doing our spiritual survey and shared the Gospel with approximately 100 students during the semester.
Ben also loves theology, hermeneutics and apologetics. He is so hungry to know more and grow deeper in his faith! He is the one who inspired our informal Bible School that we started this summer.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Lord will use Ben to reach many people with the Gospel (and He already has!).
I often ask myself: What can I do to live most fruitfully for the Gospel?
I have no doubt that the answer is this: Invest in the ‘Bens’!
(THANK YOU for investing in the ‘Bens’!)
I love it when students want to learn how to share their faith on campus! A few weeks ago Molly (pictured above) brought Jared (also pictured above) to our Theology Bible School class at our house. Jared has some disabilities from a brain aneurism he had several years ago, and he wanted to get some evangelism training! I’ll never turn down the opportunity to train students in doing evangelism. So off we went to Hancock College in Santa Maria. During the summer, there are very few students on campus, but we talked to all three of them! What a wonderful time and great conversations. We got to share the Gospel with several students. Pray for Jared to continue growing in His faith. And pray for a growing disciple-making movement at Hancock College!
There are about 45,000 college students in the San Luis Obispo area (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cuesta College also in San Luis Obispo, and Hancock College in Santa Maria). Well over 800 of these students are involved in CRU Central Coast, and many of these students are longing to grow in their faith. For this reason, we have started an informal Bible School!
We have begun with a Systematic Theology class for Cuesta College students, and we have about a dozen students involved (our first class is pictured above). We meet once a week for four hours for teaching, discussion, and a meal. What a great beginning!
We see such a great need that we are dreaming of doing more classes in the coming months; our hope is to do five different classes: Missions, Apologetics, Theology, Church History, and Hermeneutics (MATCH).
We see this as a significant opportunity to equip students to go deep into their faith so that they can be effective life-long disciple-makers.
We are also dreaming of even a few of these students catching the vision for planting disciple-making movements through the local church on community colleges all over California.
Please pray with us for the Lord to accomplish these things!
There are about 24,000 students attending De Anza College in Cupertino; there is a great need for a movement of multiplying disciples reaching these students!
Bob (pictured with me here) is an airplane mechanic in San Francisco and lives near De Anza College. He gave his life to Jesus a few decades ago when he was a student at De Anza College; a believer walked up to him and invited him into a spiritual conversation, and God had prepared his heart! Now, Bob is (understandably) passionate about reaching college students with the Gospel.
I had the privilege of meeting with Bob on campus to show him some of what I have learned about initiating spiritual conversations on community college campuses. We also got to talk quite a bit about some simple follow-up tools to begin discipling students and equipping them to be multipliers themselves.
I’ll be going to Bob’s church next month to do a training for their college ministry leaders. The training will focus (of course) on how to make disciples who make disciples on their nearby college campuses.
Pray for Bob and his church to have a growing impact for the Gospel at De Anza College and beyond!
I am so thankful for guys like Sebastian. Sebastian has been a faithful part of the Cru student leadership team at Hancock this year. It is students like Sebastian who lay the groundwork for more and more disciple-making on campus. Pray for the Lord to do amazing things at Hancock next year as Sebastian passes on leadership to others.
About four years ago I met Daniel at Columbia College in Sonora. Daniel and I quickly became good friends, and was soon leading a Bible study on campus and discipling other students. Daniel grew up in a Christian home and was excited to live out his faith on campus. I loved going on campus with Daniel to do evangelism, because he loves to share his faith and he has such a sincere love for others and desire for them to know Christ.
Then Daniel told me he was transferring to Cabrillo College near Santa Cruz, and that he wanted to start a CRU movement on campus at Cabrillo! I said, "I'll do whatever I can to help you!"
Fast-forward a few more years, and Daniel is now soon graduating from CSU Monterey. He leaves behind him a trail of disciple-makers. The CRU movement at Cabrillo College that he started several years ago is still going strong (the young man that Daniel discipled is soon graduating and is passing on leadership to the young man he discipled).
And a month or two ago I got a text from Daniel (with the picture above). Daniel said he went out doing evangelism and met a young man who wanted to meet up again. In Daniel's own words: "He is soaking up the Bible like crazy!"
Daniel continues to meet up with him to this day.
The Yorks are passionate about bringing the Gospel to the nations - especially the unreached of the world (those who have no access to the Gospel). They are convinced that the greatest impact they can have in reaching the unreached is by multiplying disciples on college campuses and equipping churches to be missional disciple-makers.