Dave Short

Chicago, Illinois

National director of Alpha for Campus, part of the Alpha Course





"Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. Don't forget to pray for us, that God will open doors for telling the mystery of Christ, (even while I'm a student on campus.) Pray that every time I open my mouth I'll be able to make Christ plain as day. Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation...” (Colossians 4:2-6)

Students used to have extra time and the ability to get involved with countless social circles, but that opportunity is narrowing. Since they are committing to fewer things, how much are we, as the church, putting on their plate and, perhaps more importantly, what are we encouraging students to invest in while they’re at university?

Is it lots of church activities, lots of “Christian” activities? Is it getting involved in university life, student government, campus organizations, developing their skills, passions and gifts both inside and outside the church community? Are they investing solely in Christian friendships or are we seeing them build wide, diverse friendship groups? Are they delivering on the things they commit to or are they over-committing to too many things or "opportunities?" Is what they're investing in having an impact on their lives and the lives of those around them?

Making the most of every opportunity is not about filling our calendar with activities, it's about us living mission shaped lives with Christ at the center. Mission isn't an event or activity; it is a lifestyle that takes every opportunity to reveal to people how much God loves them. 

The university years are abundant in opportunities for witness, and the church should be empowering students to make a difference right where they are. God wants to use them in ways they never imagined and that will make them fully alive. During the four to five years that a student is living life at college, they will have more opportunities presented to them to impact the world than at any other time in their life. Students are gathered for a moment and scattered for a lifetime. Let's release them and encourage their involvement in one of the greatest mission fields in the world: The college campus.

"I will keep you and make you to be a covenant for the peoples and a light for the Gentiles to open eyes that are blind, to free captives..." (Isaiah 42:6-7)