Testimony: The Great Commission Going Strong

COVID-19 brought confusion to college campuses around the world and college ministries sought creative ways to stay engaged. Open or closed, the Great Commission continued with college students at Antioch even though a pandemic shut down much of the world.

In North Carolina, Grace and Chris Jolly and their college staff at Antioch Raleigh were hard at work doing prayer walks when campus was open. They invited students to play sports and asked new students if they would sit and eat with them during meals.

Many of the students they met during this time returned home when the campus shut down, but college ministry staff continued to meet for discipleship and Bible studies over Zoom. The Raleigh staff says they started and maintained more than eight discipleship groups throughout the semester. Not only have their groups grown in number, Grace and Chris say the students are passionate about knowing Jesus and living out the Great Commission.

One of those students, Jessica, was curious about God but had no one in her life to talk to about spiritual things. Worse, most of her interactions with Christians had been negative. She and a few other freshman girls were eating in the dining hall when they met Grace and another Antioch college staffer Marianna who were there praying for someone to talk to about Jesus.

Social justice is an important topic to most college freshmen and Jessica and her friends were interested to hear Grace and Marianna talk about God’s heart for justice. Jessica had a nominal Catholic background and had many growing doubts about God.

Despite this, her curiosity was stirred and she met for meals and coffee several times with Marianna and Grace so she could ask questions about Jesus. They asked her questions she had never pondered before and she began to realize how many misconceptions she had about Christians, about Jesus, and about God’s love.

When the campus was closed, Grace invited Jessica to online discipleship. Their first call left Grace speechless. Jessica came prepared with many questions: How do you read the Bible? Is there a difference in praying to God or Jesus? How do I pray? Is it wrong to write notes in your Bible since it’s a holy book? (that one caught Grace off guard!) How do you know if God is speaking to you or if it’s your own thoughts?

Jessica says that God led Grace and Marianna to tell her about Jesus. Disciples like Jessica are growing in Christ at Antioch churches like Raleigh, even during a pandemic.