The millennial generation doesn’t always have the best reputation, and they know it. When Jon Shah, pastor of H2O Church on Ohio State University’s campus, asked a group of collegians participating in ForColumbus how they thought people perceived them, they answered with terms like “lazy,” “impatient,” “entitled” and “emotional.”
“I don’t actually believe that,” Shah said. “I believe they are made for a grand purpose, and nobody has invited them to it.
“They have no idea what it is, and when the gospel gets ahold of someone’s life and they believe it, they get touched with the purpose they were made for.”
ForColumbus, a new collegiate 10-day extension of Crossover, placed 500-plus collegians around the city June 7-17. Students from across the Southeast, Arizona, Ohio and Quebec, Canada, have engaged in city beautification initiatives, people group mapping, prayer walking, evangelism at Ohio State and creating gardens in abandoned lots in underresourced areas.
Lynn Loyd, missions consultant for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention collegiate and young leaders team, said in an interview prior to the event that several groups of Arkansas students were planning to attend.
“ForColumbus is an opportunity for Arkansas college students to experience church planting in an urban setting and to get a big picture of how we, as Southern Baptists, do ministry, through exposure to the Southern Baptist Convention,” Loyd said.
Students and their leaders were challenged to have at least three gospel conversations with residents while working on their projects each day.
For Rebecca Fountain, a recent Western Kentucky University graduate who will start her graduate program at Murray State University this fall, it was her first mission trip.
“Before ForColumbus, I was not intentional about sharing the gospel,” Fountain said. “I was really nervous, at first, to initiate gospel conversations, but that was something local leaders taught us well – how to be intentional and mindful of ways to share the gospel in everyday conversations. I can say I feel really comfortable doing that now.”