Brendon Johnson, SOR Administrative Assistant
This month, we are featuring some of BJU's CGO-affiliated organizations. Missions Advance, which was previously known as Mission Prayer Band, is a student organization that exists to cultivate in the student body a passion for God’s glory resulting in greater participation in world missions through learning, praying, and mobilizing.
Bob Jones University has a long history of involvement with Christian missions. For ninety-three years it has been giving future missionaries and their supporters a vision of the needs of the world—and then sending them out to serve.
As I write, I have before me two pieces of evidence from the early days of Bob Jones College. One is a copy of Robert Moffat’s Missionary Labours and Scenes in Southern Africa, which was given to the college library by missions professor Grace W. Haight (1863-1955), herself a former missionary. On the title page Dr. Haight has written her name and the words, “A very valuable book.”
The other is an autographed copy of Japan Needs Jesus, a record of a 1937 missionary tour by Clifford Lewis (1909-85). A member of the first BJC class, the author was a secretary of the Young People’s Fellowship Clubs, an ancestor organization of today’s GFA Missions.
I found the missions focus very much alive when I came to BJU many years later. The annual Missions Emphasis Week (since retitled Global Opportunities Week) was a highlight of every fall. In addition, with local extension ministries and mission teams, students and staff were regularly mobilized for missionary work in Greenville and around the world; I twice served in Europe with BJU’s Musical Mission Team.
Most memorable and most valuable in influencing my own appreciation of missions was the student organization founded in the late 1930s and known for most of its existence as Mission Prayer Band (called Missions Advance since 2011). My sister, who was a year ahead of me in university, invited me to Mission Prayer Band when I was a new student, and I never voluntarily missed a meeting.
We used to meet in the large science lecture room for a half hour just after supper four days every week. There were sometimes missionary or student speakers, but mostly we read missionary letters and spent the majority of our time praying for the needs missionaries wrote about.
Neither prayer nor missions was new to me. My parents, who themselves had moved halfway across a continent to help my missionary uncle and aunt, raised their children on missionary biographies. However, reading those letters and praying with my fellow students showed me how I can be an active participant in missions work. Missions is my own responsibility.
Mission Prayer Band taught me about the world. I learned about men and women who were living without hope—about the forces that keep them from the truth and about the willing servants who have gone to help them.
Mission Prayer Band taught me about the church. I saw the Lord’s people working together in the gospel. I heard how His kingdom was growing in many lands. I found encouragement in praying with other believers. To me, Mission Prayer Band was the heart of my university as prayer is the life of a local church.
Mission Prayer Band taught me about God. We took our inspiration from Jesus’ words: “The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2). This command comes from the One who was in the very act of sending out His messengers. Almost in the same breath, He tells us to pray, and he answers the prayers. He has a plan, and He is using His people to accomplish it.
As we met in Mission Prayer Band, we were obeying our Lord’s orders. More than that, we were participating with Him in His mission. Mission Prayer Band was both training and active service for the Lord.
Brendon Johnson, administrative assistant in the School of Religion at Bob Jones University since 2018, began attending Mission Prayer Band in 2009 and was the secretary of Missions Advance from 2011 to 2013
*If RSS feed is not working for you, please add it to your app or software manually by adding this url:
The CGO Blog
Written by the CGO staff, with guest posts from students and other faculty/staff at BJU to provide thought leadership for missions in a new millennium.