College ministry changes lives at UGA

By December 18, 2009

USA (MNN) — As the
world's economy struggles to get back on its feet, college students feel extra
pressure to prepare for the job market. Many students also realize they need to prepare spiritually for the
battle of life. The Mission Society partners
with the Wesley Foundation to minister to students at the University of
Georgia, and God is blessing its work. 

"It's growing," said Tara Dunn,
the Wesley Foundation's associate prayer director. "And amazingly, the Lord just keeps growing
our staff accordingly. We are able to
keep our discipleship model which we believe the Lord has called us to
specifically here at Wesley, and make sure that people are being discipled one-on-one."

All 300 student leaders at UGA
are discipled one-on-one by the Wesley Foundation's
interns, for an hour every week. In turn, the program's
directors also disciple other staff. Like other leaders in the Wesley Foundation, Dunn tries to spend one
third of her time on her personal relationship with the Lord, one third in
discipling fellow believers, and one third in ministry. 

As the prayer director, Dunn
spends the final third of her time in overseeing Wesley's prayer ministries and
the nine prayer interns. Her role
reflects the importance of prayer in the organization's ministry. 

"We really believe that prayer is
the background of the ministry we do here at the Wesley Foundation," Dunn
said. "We long to be a people of prayer,
and so that is really our goal: to raise up the next generation of Christian
leaders, that they would be men and women of prayer. And beyond covering Wesley, obviously our
heart is just to stand in the gap for the body of Christ in Athens, for our
campus, and for the city as a whole." 

Wesley runs 14 different
ministries: leadership, youth, outreach, women, worship, prayer, men,
discipleship, international student, freshmen, fellowship, community groups,
children's, and ArtSpeak. The 300
student leaders commit to involvement in one of these ministries and to weekly
discipleship. An on-campus Wednesday
service attracts about 800 students each week. 

Having older Christians to
disciple them and pour into their lives can make a huge difference for students
who face daily challenges from a postmodern culture that doesn't accept the
possibility of absolute truth.  Dunn said
it's a challenge to know how to equip students and interns to deal with
our postmodern culture. 

"I think those are the main
challenges: to really learn how to equip our disciplers and how to really minister
to students who are facing these issues on a daily basis," she said.   

The years people spend in college
are often the most formative years of their lives. Students often question ideas they accepted
as truth in the past, and the worldview they formulate in that process will
impact some of the biggest decisions they'll ever make. Dunn requested prayer for Wesley staff as
they minister to students at UGA. 

"I think a lot of times it's hard
for people to understand that what we do is mission work," she explained. "We really see Wesley as a launching pad, a place
where students come. They really grow in the Lord; they grow in their
understanding of who they are and who He has created them to be. And from this
place, they are launched out to whatever it is that God has called them to be, whether that's a missionary overseas or an accountant."

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