Missions for Lunch
By Melissa McCutchan
CIU Student Writer
At Columbia International University, the lunch hour is usually a time for students to catch up with friends, meet with professors, or finish last-minute homework for afternoon classes. However, during World Christian Week, students were given another option: they could attend several lunch seminars dealing with difficult topics in world missions.
The seminars were facilitated by visiting missionary representatives and CIU Intercultural Studies faculty members, with the goal of preparing students for their future ministries.
Monday’s seminar was titled “Will the Real Muslim Please Stand?” CIU professor Trevor Castor, who is the assistant director of the Zwemer Center for Muslims Studies at CIU, facilitated the seminar, and took the time to answer students’ questions about Islam and address several misconceptions Christians have about sharing their faith with Muslims.
“The nuances of [Christian] theology are going to be radically different depending on whom you ask, and it’s the same with Islam,” Castor explained. “I think Muslims and Christians have the same problem: we don’t want to be identified with what the media portrays of us.”
CIU adjunct professor Danise Stokeld led Tuesday’s seminar, which focused on raising financial and prayer support as a missionary. Several visiting missionary representatives spoke about their experiences raising support, and encouraged students to develop key relationships while they study at CIU.
World Team representative John Morrison advised students to ask potential supporters to join them in ministry through prayer, not only financial support.
“People want to do more than just write you a check, they want to join you in what God has been leading you to do,” Morrison said. “Invite [your church] into this process with you.”
Wednesday’s seminar was titled “Is Missions Only for Women?” and was facilitated by Sam Thomas, who represents Africa Inland Mission (AIM). Thomas posed several questions for students to consider that might deter single men from pursuing foreign missions.
“We need single men in missions just as much as we need single women,” Thomas said. “There is a role in our world for young single men to reach out to young single men in other cultures.”
The week of lunch seminars allowed students to consider more difficult topics facing missionaries today, and to begin preparing for their future ministry as they study at CIU.
“We are asking God … for men of faith who will not only impact the world, but who will impact our countries and our churches,” Thomas said.