Stanford’s Spiritual Legacy

The Stanfords built a church in the middle of campus in the hopes that it would act as a spiritual center for the university.

An article in the January 25th edition of the San Jose Mercury News talked about Stanford’s spiritual legacy: Church Remains At School’s Heart.

When Leland and Jane Stanford decided to place a church at the center of campus, the faculty balked. A library — a place of books and thought — would be more appropriate, the professors opined. But Jane Stanford stood firm.

“The church is the only institution that makes or has made or pretends to make a stand against immorality in all its forms,” she said. “Education does not; nor does that science in which you are interested and which you consider all-powerful.”

Sadly, the church has (in my estimation) fallen far. Few would regard it as the heart of the university today, and the spiritual menu offered at the Church has broadened beyond measure: both the founder of the Ba’hai faith and the Dalai Lama have spoken there. I think the article puts it well: For some, the church is a community treasure more akin to a museum than a religious institution.

The article is accompanied by a brief history of Memorial Church.

Learn more about Memorial Church online.

The Historic Importance of College Ministry

Every major revival in Western history has its roots on the college campus. Here are specific stories of student revivals changing the world!

I spoke at Bethany College’s chapel yesterday, and I told several little-known stories from this history of college ministry. I thought I should put them online. I apologize for the abrubt nature of these stories, I basically cut’n’pasted them from my speaking notes. I’ve provided a link to help you do more research on any of the stories that interest you. If you want a quick survey that’s better-written, try Why College Revivals Spark Missionary Advance.

First: At the very beginning of the 18th century, Nick was a student at the University of Halle in Germany. He was a passionate follower of Jesus, and he came to wield great influence with his fellow students. He went on to found a church, and the Moravian Church founded by Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf sent out more missionaries in twenty years than all the Protestant churches of Europe had sent in the last 200. They began an around-the-clock prayer meeting for world missions that lasted for 100 years without interruption. His slogan was I have but one passion, tis He, tis only He. [learn more about the Moravians]

Second: In 1726, John Wesley was a student at Oxford University and he formed a group called the Holy Club to study the Bible and reach out to the poor. They began to live their lives by a strict set of rules, carefully ordering their life to give the maximum opportunities to serve God. They were so disciplined that other students mocked their methodical life with the name Methodists. Later, John and his brother Charles along with George Whitfield, another alumnus of the Holy Club, were instrumental in spreading the gospel across America in what we today call the First Great Awakening in American history. [learn more about John Wesley]

Third: In August 1806, on a hot and humid Saturday afternoon, freshman Samuel Mills and four other students gathered in the maple grove of Sloan’s Meadow along the Hoosack River for a twice-weekly prayer meetings. Suddenly, rain began to pour down and so the students sought shelter from the driving rain on the side of a huge haystack. There, with the rain falling from the sky Mills shared his growing passion that the gospel be preached around the world. They prayed, and God showed up. That prayer meeting resulted in the emergence of missions in North America, and every subsequent missions movementincluding ourstraces its roots to that prayer meeting of college students. Their great motto was we can do this if we will. [learn more about the Haystack Prayer Meeting]

Fourth: Just after Christmas in 1900, Charles Parham gave the students at Bethel Bible college in Topeka Kansas an assignment: search the Scriptures and determine if there was any way a person could know whether or not they had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. On January 1st 1901, just after midnight, a young student named Agnes Ozman asked Parham to lay hands on her and pray that she might be filled with the Holy Spirit and that she would speak in tongues as a result. That event launched the great Pentecostal revival which has swept and is sweeping the world. Today 9 out of every 10 people who are coming to faith in Christ are doing so in the context of a Spirit-filled Church. [learn more about Agnes Ozman]

Fifth: In 1886 Dwight Moody invited 251 college students to a retreat in Mount Hermon, Massachusets. He wasnt really planning to talk about world missions, but a strong burden grew among the students there. By the end of the conference, precisely 100 of the 251 students signed a pledge stating we, the undersigned, declare ourselves willing and desirous, God permitting, to go to the unevangelized portions of the world. That was the beginning of the Student Volunteer Missions Movement. Their watchword was the evangelization of the world in this generation. Two Princeton students took it upon themselves to go on a speaking tour of American colleges recruiting for missions. As a result, over 12,000 student volunteers went into foreign missions before World War I broke out. [learn more about the Student Volunteer Missions Movement]

Sixth: In 1951, Bill Bright began ministering to college students at UCLA. That began a movement known as Campus Crusade for Christ that has grown far beyond college students and is now one of the most powerful missions forces in the world. For example: they have shown a movie representation of the gospel of Luke to over 5 billion people in over 200 nations. I actually believe its been shown in every nation on the planet! [learn more about Bill Bright and Campus Crusade]

Seventh: And in what is probably the most amazing story of college revival that I’ve ever come across: I give you the story of a revival that began when five non-Christians gathered for prayer.

To provide a context: our nation was founded in 1776. In the 1790s, a poll conducted at Harvard revealed not one believer which was originally founded to train ministers. At Princeton, a similar poll showed only 2 Christians. When the dean opened the chapel Bible one day a pack of playing cards fell out because students had cut out a hiding place for them. Christians were so few on the average campus and were so intimidated by the non-Christians that they met in secret. They even kept their minutes in code so no one could find out about their clandestine fellowship. [source]

Right around then at Hampden Sydney College in Virginia five non-Christian students were so disgusted with the level of immorality around them that they held a secret prayer meeting to ask for Gods help. Somehow the other students found out about it and tried to break down the door! The president of the college heard the riot and came to see what the problem was. The students told him and these were his words: “You don’t mind cheating, you, don’t mind stealing from rooms, you don’t mind the lying and the profanity you get on this campus, but you object to a prayer meeting. Well, I do not!” He then knocked on the door and said authoritatively, “This is the president of the college speaking. Will you please come out?” The students unlocked the door and came out not knowing what to expect. President Smith said, “Gentlemen, come to my study, we’ll pray there together.” That sparked a revival on campus that resulted in half of the student body converting to Christ and more importantly: that was the beginning of the Second Great Awakening.

To learn more about this last story, read the article that I recommended at the beginning: Why College Revivals Spark Missionary Advance.

Got to Minister To a Princeton Student This Week

I was able to share Christ with a Princeton student!

At our last Chi Alpha meeting, we had a guest named Darin, who is a physics major visiting from Princeton University. He came with one of our students, Shaowei, with whom he went to high school.

To make a long story short, after the meeting I learned that Darin isn’t a Christian but he did want some counsel from a minister. We talked for a long time, and he invited me to pray that God would reveal Himself to him in a way that is convincing to Darin.

Please pray for Darin! I think he’s on the verge of following Christ: he just needs some time to process everything and to experience God’s presence in his life.

Side note: one of the unexpected aspects of ministry at one elite school is that you get to minister to students from other elite schools as well. The weekend before meeting Darin I met a Harvard student named Steve who was visiting a student from a group that he went to high school with. Prior to that I met a Cornell student. Just thought you might find that interesting.

How God Wants Us To Treat One Another

As promised, here’s the info from last night’s meeting:

The English phrase one another is expressed as a single word in Greek: the reflexive pronoun allelous. By finding each place that allelous is used in the New Testament, we can quickly survey passages that teach us how we should relate to one another. The following list is representative but not exhaustive.

Greet One Another: 2 Corinthians 13:12
Show Hospitality To One Another: 1 Peter 4:9
Honor One Another: Romans 12:10
Live In Harmony With One Another: Romans 12:16
Serve One Another: Galatians 5:13-14
Comfort One Another: 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Encourage One Another: Hebrews 3:12-13
Motivate One Another: Hebrews 10:24-25
Teach And Admonish One Another: Colossians 3:16
Be Forbearing With One Another: Ephesians 4:1-3
Forgive One Another: Colossians 3:13
Confess Sin To One Another: James 5:16
Bear One Anothers Burdens: Galatians 6:2
Love One Another: 1 John 4:7-21

and here are some additional resources we didn’t cover last night

Do a search for every ‘one another’ verse in the NIV New Testament

Do a search for every ‘each other’ verse in the NIV New Testament

Also see the article: “One Another” Commands of Scripture, which is dull yet informative.

How Are Funds Used?

A donor recently asked me how funds given to our ministry are used. I thought that was a pretty reasonable question, and so I thought I’d post the response on the site.

A donor recently asked me how funds given to our ministry are used. I thought that was a pretty reasonable question, and so I thought I’d post the response on the site. This is going to be long–I’ll make it as short as possible, but because we’re talking about money I want to be precise.

Technically, all funds given to our ministry are actually given to the Assemblies of God, the denomination with which I am a minister and which sponsors Chi Alpha Campus Ministries. The Assemblies of God promises to disburse gifts in accordance with the wishes of the donor and in accordance with Assemblies of God policies.

So what relevant policies does the Assemblies of God have?

1) Missionaries are assigned an amount of money that they must raise. This is commonly known as a missionary budget.

2) This budget has two components: the personal budget and the work budget.

3) The personal budget covers salaries and benefits (insurance and retirement). For home missions, the Assemblies of God categorizes ministry assignments into one of three cost-of-living indexes. Because Stanford is in Silicon Valley we fall into the highest cost-of-living bracket. Personal budgets are monitored very closely and are adjusted only under extreme circumstances.

4) The work budget covers everything else: things like outreach materials, Bibles, office supplies, meeting space expenses (decorations and rental fees, for example), music equipment, retreat expenses, and ministry-related travel expenses. Really anything that helps us achieve our mission of ministering to Stanford students, faculty, and staff.

5) By Assemblies of God policy, until missionaries fully raise their assigned budget they are not allowed to launch their ministry. This is because the Assemblies wants missionaries to succeed, and as a denomination we’ve learned through painful experience that one of the best ways to guarantee long-term success is by requiring full funding up front.

6) Also by Assemblies of God policy, the money that comes in goes first to support the missionary financially and then to support the missionary’s work. In other words, if only 75% of funds come in one month then it’s the work budget that gets shortchanged instead of the personal budget. This is according to the theory that a mission can survive without office supplies for a month, but if the missionary gets evicted because they can’t pay rent the mission will suffer much more lasting harm.

7) Once a month missionaries are issued a check from the Assemblies of God. That check contains only what has been given that month up to the amount of the assigned personal budget. There is a 5% administration fee taken off the top. Incidentally, that’s an incredibly low administration fee: I’ve seen other missions organizations with rates as high as 20%!

8) The work budget and any excess funds sit in designated accounts. When the missionary has a work expense (say we mail an evangelistic CD-ROM to every student on campus), we pay it out of our own pocket and submit that expense to the Assemblies for reimbursement. We are reimbursed if and only if there are sufficient funds available. That reimbursement is tacked onto next month’s check alongside the personal budget.

9) Here’s the bit to remember: the personal budget acts like a cap whereas the work budget acts like a springboard. We cannot receive more than our assigned salary, but we can receive a theoretically unlimited amount for ministry expenses (as much as people are willing to give). We are responsible to document each ministry expense and demonstrate to the Assemblies of God that it was a legitimate use of God’s money.

So here’s the bottom line: money given is used to pay the minister first and any excess is used to pay for ministry expenses.

We also have answers to other common financial questions and an article on the Biblical model for funding missionary work and a step-by-step guide to making a donation.

You can see all the articles related to giving to our ministry.

Another Long Weekend That Was Well Worth It

Another round of preaching in churches.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I preached at an inner-city youth group Friday night. I got back around midnight, went to bed, and woke up to drive to Yuba City.

We spent the night at Jeff and Lori Wright’s place (their son Andrew is involved in Chi Alpha @ Stanford), and then we shared at Sutter Community Church in the morning.

Side note: when I preach I generally put my cell phone on silent mode and set it on the pulpit as a way of keeping time. Unfortunately, when I receive a call the phone displays a new mail notification instead of the usual clock. That’s relevant only because Alicia Chole called me in-between points 2 and 3. I say this not to chastise Alicia, but merely because I found it funny. For the record, I did not answer the phone.

Anyway, we went out for lunch after and had a great time with the pastor and his family and the worship leader and his wife.

Then we headed to the Wright’s house to watch the first half of the Superbowl.

Then it was off to preach at Calvary Temple in Yuba City. There were a TON of people there, which surprised me given that the Superbowl was going on and that a California team was playing. Anyway, we had a great time sharing with the people. I even got to tell a pretty funny Raiders joke and not get lynched.

Paula and I would like to publicly commend Calvary Temple and Pastor Ciociola: they gave us the largest offering to aid our work that we’ve ever received, and they did it while the Superbowl was being played with a team from their state contending for the championship! May God richly bless them with every blessing at His disposal.

And then we left and we returned home around 11pm and crashed.