Missionary Volunteering on the Campus

There are about 13,000 young men and women in the colleges and advanced schools of the church through­out the world field.

L. A. SKINNER, Associate Secretary, General Conference Missionary Volunteer Department

There are about 13,000 young men and women in the colleges and advanced schools of the church through­out the world field. These young people are enjoying privileges in Christian educa­tion, and they are in an influ­ential position so far as the future of the church is concerned. It is essential that church and educational leaders plan wisely to provide the environment both in the classroom and outside that will be produc­tive of Adventist Christian maturity. We are deeply appreciative of what the colleges are now doing, and particularly in their constant study of the factors that create areas of influence on the college campus.

One of the cardinal objectives in Chris­tian education is the enlisting and training of our youth in missionary endeavor. Each educational institution is to be a lighthouse from which radiates to the surrounding communities the great truths of God's love and purpose for the children of men. The messenger of the Lord states:

It is necessary to their complete education that students be given time to do missionary work—time to become acquainted with the spiritual needs of the families in the community around them. . . .

If a missionary spirit is encouraged, even if it takes some hours from the program of regular study, much of heaven's blessing will be given, pro­vided there is more faith and spiritual zeal, more of a realization of what God will do.

There are many lines in which the youth can find opportunity for helpful effort. Companies should be organized and thoroughly educated to work as nurses, gospel visitors, and Bible readers, as can­vassers, ministers, and medical missionary evange­lists.—Counsels to Parents and Teachers, pp. 545, 546.

Even while attending school, students may, if true to their profession, be living missionaries for God. All this will take time; but the time thus employed is profitably spent, for in this way the student is learning how to present Christianity to the world. —Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 173.

For the past fifty years the Missionary Volunteer Society has been the Adventist youth organization, authorized by the church to mobilize and train the youth for service. The effective influence of this youth organization is attested to by thou­sands today who have been inspired and trained for Christian witnessing through its dedicated program. W. A. Spicer, as General Conference president, in 1926 said, "This Missionary Volunteer Department, organized in the providence of God as a part of His work, is a department that is to set the hearts of our youth and children on fire with the call of God to do the work."

To make its complete contribution to the collegiate youth of today the Missionary Volunteer Society must be at its very best. This need was expressed by M. E. Kern, then general secretary of the Missionary Volunteer Department, as he contributed to the discussion of the Colorado Springs Educational Council in 1923:

I think that perhaps to a greater degree than you realize our Missionary Volunteer work depends upon the way in which it is carried on in these schools; because you have the cream of our young people, and if these young people have the privilege of belonging to and working in a model society, they will go back home to give proper advice and help to the Missionary Volunteer work in the field.—Colorado Springs Convention, p. 618.

This statement is just as true in 1959. The graduates of our colleges will carry with them into their local churches the con­cept of youth work that was given them during their college training.

During the spring of 1958 the Missionary Volunteer Department conducted a college campus survey giving special attention to the influence of the Missionary Volunteer Society. This survey revealed that campus organizations and clubs have multiplied during the past few years, and that the Missionary Volunteer program must be strengthened in order to hold its place as the sponsor of major religious activities on the campus.

What does the Missionary Volunteer Society have to offer the college student of 1959?

  1. The Missionary Volunteer Society of­fers fellowship and encouragement to those who are seeking Christian growth and ma­turity. The organization fosters the prayer bands and the personal devotion habits, such as Morning Watch and Bible Year, so that each individual may reach his full stature as a man or woman in Christ. It provides the laboratory for Christian liv­ing. It stimulates an interest in the nobler aspects of life.
  2. The Missionary Volunteer Society is a voluntary association of Christian youth on the campus to strengthen the spiritual forces and to mobilize Christian influence. It is an asset to any college and to any stu­dent body to have a solid corps of earnest, loyal, Christian youth whose influence strongly flavors campus life.
  3. The Missionary Volunteer Society provides the incentives by which Christian youth demonstrate and interpret the Ad­ventist way of life. Many young people come to our colleges who have not had the privilege of an Adventist background, or who have a distorted view of it. Such youth have a right to find the flesh-and-blood demonstration of happy and purposeful Christian living.
  4. The Missionary Volunteer Society provides for wholesome association of stu­dents and faculty in selfless service projects in the surrounding communities. Mission­ary activity is an integral part of education. These projects can be as varied as the needs of the community and the talents of the students in the college. This harmonizes with the statement in Counsels to Parents and Teachers, page 263, which says:

Students cannot afford to wait till their education is considered complete, before using for the good of others that which they have received. Without this, however they may study, however much knowledge they may gain, their education will be incomplete.

There are many lines in which the youth can find opportunity for helpful effort. Let them organize into bands for Christian service, and the co-opera­tion will prove an assistance and an encouragement. —Education, p. 269.

5. The Missionary Volunteer Society places before the entire student body a world task, The Advent Message to All the World in This Generation. The young peo­ple of the campus are challenged to devote their talents to the Lord's work in home and foreign fields. Christ's Foreign Legion, or Foreign Mission Bands, are organized, and the needs of the overseas areas are studied by those whose lives have been attracted to full-time foreign service. The international scope of the church makes it possible for representatives of different overseas areas to present the viewpoint of various countries. This has been the spirit of the Adventist youth movement from its very inception. On the plaque attached to the modest monument erected on the cam­pus of Mount Vernon Academy at the MV Golden Anniversary ceremonies are these words, "Fifty years ago the fathers of the church cast the mantle of service on their sons and daughters and called them Mis­sionary Volunteers."

6. The Missionary Volunteer Society fos­ters leadership training on a voluntary ba­sis. The Master Guide Club now offers optional courses, one leading to a prepara­tion for leadership on the senior level and one leading to preparation for service on the junior Pathfinder level. The youth so­ciety sponsors various hobby interests and skills which enrich leisure time and add to the tools the young person can use in serv­ice. There is also the development of tal­ents in the presentation of the youth pro­grams. These programs provide a situa­tion where the Christian issues of the day may be discussed and where the ideals and principles of Christian living may be in­terpreted to the entire campus population.

Panel discussions, character clinics, pub­lic forums, and leadership workshops em­phasize the wide participation of young people in the forward-looking program. The Missionary Volunteer Society is the church working for and through its young people. It is certainly agreed that it has a contribution to make to the college young people of today. It is equally true that the young people who go from our colleges to the local churches have a contribution to make to the young people's program wher­ever they find it.

Upon Christian youth depend in a great measure the preservation and perpetuity of the institutions which God has devised as a means by which to ad­vance His work. Never was there a period when re­sults so important depended upon a generation of men. Then how important that the young should be qualified for this great work, that God may use them as His instruments!—Messages to Young Peo­ple, pp. 181, 182.

How true then, as one has said, "As goes the campus, so goes the church."

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L. A. SKINNER, Associate Secretary, General Conference Missionary Volunteer Department

March 1959

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