by Dr. Thomas White
At Cedarville University, we want every student on the mission field before graduation, taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. We strongly and frequently voice this desire, but we don’t require it because we encourage our students to pursue missions through their local churches. In this way, we establish the precedent of the local church as the primary sending body for mission efforts.
For various reasons, not all college students participate in missions through their local churches. Therefore, we have a division of the University devoted to the logistics and promotion for local and global missions for these students. We call this area Global Outreach. We named it this intentionally. On a university campus, especially in the age of texting, students naturally shorten everything. So Global Outreach becomes GO, which means our marketing material is CU GO — exactly what we want our students, faculty, and staff to do.
Recently, some have criticized short-term missions trips by stating the money would be better used to support a longterm missionary, or they argue that short-term trips do more harm than good to the host area. We don’t agree! Rather, we believe that we should support both short-term and long-term missions.
Short-term missions trips inspire a heart for missions and a more fervent desire in the participant to support missions through prayer and giving. Rarely, if ever, have I met a longterm missionary that did not begin to sense God’s call as a result of or through a short-term trip. God tends to work and move in the hearts of those who embark upon mission with Him, perhaps even more deeply than in those to whom they go.
Our Global Outreach office coordinates short-term trips with long-term efforts whenever possible. The local church or ministry partner guides our efforts, and we submit to their authority and expertise. In this way, we come alongside the long-term effort to participate in lasting Gospel advancement. Our office also helps students write support letters, distribute prayer updates, and receive gifts to finance their trips. We provide training for the unique cultural encounters and ministry opportunities students will experience. We desire to further Gospel work among the nations, but not to make the nations look just like ours. We strive to support indigenous ministries whenever possible.
We also have a secondary yet important educational component to our missions efforts. Our students experience and learn to appreciate new cultures. Short-term missions trips allow us to see how materially blessed we are in America and how other parts of the world experience joy, contentment, and happiness with far less. This fights against our tendency to idolize comforts and material possessions when we realize genuine joy arises from contentment in Christ — not materialism.
Further, we see that God is working in the hearts of people all over the world. Sometimes we drift into the mentality that God has chosen America as His only people. While God has blessed us graciously, He died for and redeems people from every tribe and every tongue. We are not the only people God has chosen to work through, and seeing this firsthand promotes spiritual unity and humility across racial and national boundaries.
Ultimately, our efforts to make disciples in Cedarville, the Midwest, America, and the ends of the earth is simply obedience to the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we follow Matthew 28:18–20, we long for King Jesus to receive the glory He deserves. We desire that from every tribe and nation, knees would bow and tongues would confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10–11).
You can join us on that mission through supporting our teams in prayer, partnering with us to provide mission opportunities, or supporting our students through scholarships for trips. We hope that the stories in this magazine will inspire you as we want to “CU GO” on mission with God, too. May we all support missions efforts while standing firm for the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ.