In 1886, 100 students from the top colleges of New England and the Northeast took a vow: “We are willing and desirous, God permitting, to become foreign missionaries.” These 100 students were in the prime of life, blessed with elite educations, and had seemingly unlimited opportunities before them. When confronted with this glut of worldly opportunity, including wealth, influence, prestige, and comfort, they turned their backs on it all for the sake of a higher goal: sharing the gospel with every nation, tribe, and language in the world in their generation. Their watchword was “the evangelization of the world in this generation.” Following the example of the first 100 volunteers, 80,000 college students would make the same pledge over the next 40 years, sending 20,000 missionaries who were forever known as “Student Volunteers.”
These volunteers, once the best and brightest, became nameless and faceless, freely giving their lives and laying down their bodies in foreign soil. Like so many seeds, they have borne lasting fruit, resulting in Christian movements in China, Korea, Africa, and Southeast Asia that are now many times larger than the American church that sent the Student Volunteers. The incredible outcome of their efforts combined with many other mission movements has transformed entire nations, people groups, and continents!
However, their larger goal of sharing the gospel with every tribe, nation, and language remains unfulfilled.
As Hebrews 11:39-40 says, “…these, having obtained a good testimony through faith did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.”
Is there not something further to come forth from their lives? Has not God provided something better for us, that we might bring their work to completion?
The Student Volunteer Movement was born out of the famous Northfield Conferences in 1880’s and 90’s. On February 23, we’re calling college students to gather back to Northfield, Massachusetts. We’re going back to the very ground where the movement was birthed, believing that “God has provided something better for us…”
The work of the Student Volunteers is not complete; we’re convinced that fueled by an unprecedented global movement of prayer, we ourselves may be the ones to complete what they began. Bowls of prayer have been filled and are beginning to overflow. The Lord of the Harvest is thrusting forth laborers into His harvest. Could it be that we are the generation that could receive the honor of completing this great task, could it be that we are the generation to bring the gospel to every nation, every tribe, and every language?
Already, on campuses around New England, we’re hearing stories of revival breaking out as students overcome the incredible inertia of worldly opportunity, digital distraction, immorality, and passivity to enter into a life of prayer and consecration to Jesus Christ.
On February 23, we’ll hear stories of what God is doing on our campuses as we come to the altar of prayer and cry out to God… “Do it again, Lord: raise up a new movement of Student Volunteers. Let their lives and their work be perfected in us.”
Authored by Jonathan Friz, 10 Days of Prayer, Massachusetts