Lee breaking New Horizons with new Missions Week model
This semester’s Missions Week, entitled “New Horizon in Missions,” is shifting the paradigm for students at Lee University.
For the first time, participants will have the opportunity to financially, spiritually and physically activate each other in the missions field.
“As I looked at the Biblical model of missions, I really felt like there was a disconnect between students supporting a project and students actually doing missions work,” said Campus Pastor Rob Fultz. “If our mission statement is to raise up Christian leaders for a complex world, then we have to actually have to put them in the practice of it.”
Lee will use all money raised from t-shirt sales, donations and chapel offerings for an inaugural missions scholarship fund, opening in spring 2020.
“We’re moving from a student support model to a student activation model,” Fultz said, “meaning instead of the students raising funds to support a particular project, they’re raising funds to support their peers.”
During “New Horizon in Missions,” students will hear not only from guest speakers but also from their peers.
Senior communications major Mica Sheppard will speak this Thursday, Oct. 10 in Conn Center chapel. She interned over the summer at Atlanta-based House of Cherith—a safe house for the refuge and restoration of women formerly involved in sex trafficking.
“I always thought mission work was going out to a different state or country and helping an organization or a church for like a week,” Sheppard said. “However, this summer I learned that mission work is more about forming lasting relationships with someone. Being friendly and talking to someone about something they are going through or life in general can make all the difference.”
While Missions Week will empower students with peer stories and funds, it also will provide them with the opportunity to congregate in worship and prayer on Friday, Oct. 11.
Fultz felt the need for a “culminating event to solidify” what the students had experienced throughout the week.
“In the Bible, there’s story after story… where people are saved, then baptized, then sent—and that pattern repeats over and over,” Fultz said. “If we’re going to put students on mission—if we’re going to send them out—then I want to do it in a way that honors and models God’s Word.”
The event will consist of student-led worship, targeted prayer and student-led baptisms. Senior psychology major Sam Utt is a part of the team of students involved in the Friday night event.
“A group of students had a vision of worship and prayer happening on Lee’s campus in a real and fresh way because we have seen students’ hunger for more of God,” Utt said. “In Acts 2, 120 people were gathered in one place praying with one mind, in one accord… they were immediately activated and sent out into all the world. To be ‘activated’ means to take a conscious step out of complacent Christianity, and into a life that is bold and courageous in the same way Jesus was. We want to have this same mindset among the students and faculty of Lee.”
According to Fultz, faculty will not be orchestrating this event, as it is important for students to be united in their shared mission.
“For a student to see another student passionately following Jesus is inspiring, and it gives them courage and hope that they can do it, too,” Utt said. “Mask off, no show, just Jesus. This is what is happening on Oct. 11.”
Throughout the week, Lee will host exhibitors including City of Refuge and the Church of God World Missions Department. Moreover, students will have the opportunity to eat lunch with missionaries in the Deacon Jones Dining Hall following chapel on Tuesday and Thursday.
Admission will be first come, first served with reservations available for the first 50 students. To attend the missionary lunch, email Becky Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Missions Week t-shirts are available in the Campus Ministries office—located in the Conn Center—for a $15 donation. For more information on Missions Week or the Friday worship night, visit Lee’s website or call Campus Ministries at (423) 614-8420.
“New Horizon in Missions” Schedule
Tuesday: Bruce Deel, Conn Center
Tuesday: Mario Mendoza, Dixon Center
Thursday: Kelsi Deel and Mica Sheppard, Conn Center
Thursday: Alternative Chapel, Dixon Center
Friday: Worship, prayer and baptism event at Pangle Hall begins at 7:30 p.m.