DiscipleMakers exists to raise up effective, disciple-making disciples on college campuses who:
Understand the Scriptures, apply them to all of life, and teach them to others;
Exhibit increasing Christlikeness in response to the gospel;
Serve in a Bible-believing local church;
Honor God in their vocation and family relationships;
Continue to make disciples wherever God takes them;
...and thus impact the world for the glory of God.
The Apostle Paul put it this way: “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:2-3). The Corinthian Christians themselves were the evidence, the letter of reference, that demonstrated that Paul’s ministry was effective.
We measure our ministry similarly, by lives transformed by Christ as demonstrated by student conversions and also by alumni continuing to live for Christ years and decades after college. Along with hundreds of other students, Zach, a Penn State senior majoring in Civil Engineering, heard the Gospel this year through DiscipleMakers. His conversion is unique and personal and also typical of the wonderful work of God in a student’s life. This is his story:
Zach (left) pushed through his natural shyness to accept an invitation from DiscipleMakers staff Dave Laufer (right). Dave spent most of the meal getting to know Zach. Then he stopped and asked, “Zach, do you have a question for me?”
“Yes,” he replied. “How can I know God?” And so Dave and Zach began studying the Bible together to answer that question. In addition, Zach also joined a student-led Bible study and attended DiscipleMakers weekly fellowship meetings. As the weeks went by, it was clear that Zach had started to have a Biblical understanding of what it meant to know God and how his sin had created a barrier between himself and God. Dave shared the Gospel again with Zach and asked him, “What do you think of this?”
Zach paused for a moment and then replied, “If this is true, it’s amazing!”
“It IS true!” Dave said, “And it IS amazing! What about you, Zach?”
“I want it!” Zach said. “I want the forgiveness that comes through the Gospel!”
Since then, this normally shy young man has shared the good news of Jesus Christ with his mother, his sister, and with numerous peers. He also boldly shared his decision to follow Christ to a crowd of about a hundred DiscipleMakers students and staff at our weekly fellowship meeting. Zach graduated in May 2016 as a changed man!
We rejoice in the new life that God has given to Zach. But if this change lasts only during his college years and then fades away as he enters his career and shoulders adult responsibilities, we have not succeeded. To paraphrase the apostle Paul, student converts and alumni who continue to walk with God are our letter of recommendation, written by the Spirit.
You may be one of those alumni. Perhaps you can point to friends from your student days and to those you discipled who in turn discipled others in DiscipleMakers and say, “I and they are the letter of recommendation from Christ, the result of this ministry.”
Jeremy Amaismeier (Gettysburg College Class of 2005) is one of those alumni. Jeremy grew up in Pennsylvania, the oldest of 4 boys. Athletic and smart, Jeremy grew up in a church-going family with strong morals. But Jeremy never understood the Gospel. By the time he arrived at Gettysburg College, Jeremy was frustrated by his empty church experiences. He didn't know where to look to actually know God. But in the first weeks of the semester, another student invited Jeremy to the DiscipleMakers Fellowship at Gettysburg and Jeremy went. Then, friends he made in the fellowship invited him to church - and he went. They invited him to Bible study - and Jeremy went. In October, Jeremy attended DiscipleMakers’ fall conference. He recalls the “momentous” time where he told God, “I understand who you are and that has big implications for my life and I want to be involved." By the end of his freshman year, Jeremy had come to understand and believe the good news that “My salvation is a gift from God and anything I do is a response to the Gospel, not anything that I could contribute to my salvation.” This realization changed Jeremy’s relationship with God - and his life - radically.
“My salvation is a gift from God and anything I do is a response to the Gospel, not anything that I could contribute to my salvation.”
Jeremy grew rapidly in his faith, and even became president of the fellowship as an upperclassman. Now living in State College, PA, with his wife and 2 young children, Jeremy credits DiscipleMakers with showing him that the Scriptures apply to all of life. They are not simply for Sundays, but they reveal his own motives and show him how to live.
One way that the Scriptures challenged Jeremy in college was in his view of relationships. Hurt from previous relationships, Jeremy usually stood quietly in a group, waiting for others to initiate with him. When challenged by the Scriptures to consider how he could represent God better, Jeremy saw that God pursues us even when we are not pursuing him. Convicted by this, Jeremy began to take initiative with people around him, eager to represent God well and willing to trust God for the hurts that come in a fallen world.
That lesson continues to serve Jeremy well as he takes leadership roles in his church and seeks to live out the Gospel at work. “Giving students a vision for serving in the local church and helping them get connected there is key to helping them live for Christ for a lifetime,” Jeremy said. “DiscipleMakers gave me that vision from my freshman year on. As a senior, I remember Peter Krol (DiscipleMakers President) challenging us to factor the proximity to good churches into our job applications and housing choices rather than waiting to look for a church once the job had been taken or the move had been made.”
Thank you, friends of DiscipleMakers, for your prayers and financial gifts. Zach, Jeremy, and many others over the past 30 years are the proof we point to, the reference letter written by the Spirit, that your partnership is enabling us to raise up life-long disciple-makers from the college campus.