We Change First
by TJ McCloud, Missions Coordinator (External Affairs)
As winter sputters out and the spring season comes bursting into bloom, things get pretty exciting around Lipscomb’s campus! If sending mission teams was like football (which thankfully it isn’t!), Spring Break would be our Super Bowl. In just a few short weeks, 23 teams and nearly 400 volunteers will serve with us in nine different countries and seven U.S. cities. From the outside, it might seem like a quick, intense flurry of activity over the week of spring break, but in reality, our teams’ work in those locations started long ago right here on campus. After ten years of experience in sending thousands of people to serve through Lipscomb Missions, we’ve discovered an important secret; If we want to change the world, we’ve got to let God change us first.
It all starts with a heart of someone who asks “What could God do with my time and talent?” That’s a powerful question, one that has led thousands on our campus to change their lives and focus on serving others. Passion for God’s movement through missions has become one of Lipscomb University’s deepest values and most distinctive traits. As a result, our campus culture is unlike any other. Hundreds of our faculty and staff have served in missions and local service. Last year, 52% of Lipscomb’s May 2012 four-year graduates served at least once with Lipscomb Missions. When it comes to serving others, we feel like you will have a hard time finding a more invested campus community than this one.
At Lipscomb, we help our campus community become engines of change, both in their own lives and in others’. We encourage each other to build bold plans for serving others. We mentor each other to dream about using our time, money, influence and talent on behalf of God’s Kingdom. We empower our fellow servants to rally others, joining them in the journey of life-changing service. Those who serve with Lipscomb Missions come home with bigger expectations for their skills and for their lives. They’ve gotten a taste of what it’s like to be devoted to God’s Kingdom and want more. That’s why you’ll see departments all over campus gearing education and training towards the Kingdom, specifically in partnership with Lipscomb Missions.
For example, take our College of Engineering: for the past decade they have been building clean water solutions and life-saving infrastructure in Honduras, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. These engineering graduates will professionally design other water systems, power grids, or bridges in the future, but always with the perspective of having done them in the developing world for the Kingdom of God first. Our Theatre program has pioneered a unique blend of missions and dramatic arts, both here on campus and in cross cultural contexts. Lipscomb Athletics has partnered with us to send dozens of student athletes each year to serve in locations like Honduras, Haiti, Brazil, Belize, and Los Angeles. Our Nursing, Pre-Med and Pharmacy students are so eager to use their skills in missions that we literally cannot build medical teams fast enough!
Sure, some of the locations where our teams minister are interesting or may even be considered exotic, and the teams’ experiences while serving are compelling and dramatic. Because of that, sometimes we forget to tell you about the other, equally important way that God uses your support in work of Lipscomb Missions; as you help us mobilize teams to change the world, you’re helping transform our campus. In countries far and wide, people are being introduced to Jesus and their lives are being changed, but the secret blessing of the Kingdom is that as we seek to serve, we, too, are being re-introduced to Jesus and our lives can never, ever be the same.