Mercy Hill Church - College Ministry - The Three-Theater War of College Ministry Blog - Jon Sheets

The Three-Theater War of College Ministry

Originally, at the end of the 19th century, gasoline was perceived to be a useless byproduct of refining kerosene until engineers discovered its usefulness for the combustion engine. Once the inherent value was realized, engineers perfected the refinement process, and the world of the “horseless carriage” was born.

One of the greatest pools of sending potential in the church today are college students. The collegiate missionary force is just waiting to be utilized in the mission of God, both while in school and afterwards. College students are a bit like gasoline. Once their value is realized and the process for sending them refined, a new era of global mission will ensue.

This is why Mercy Hill College desires to catalyze a movement of God across every campus in the Triad through students who understand the gospel and live out of the gospel because they truly believe the gospel.

We want to connect college students to the local church, but ultimately, we want to send them out through the local church. As J.D. Greear says in Gaining by Losing, “the church is meant to be an aircraft carrier that sends its best by equipping its members to take the battle to the enemy.”[1]

Just like WWII, where there was a European, African, and Pacific theater, I like to think of College ministry as a three-theater war consisting of a local, national, and international theater. It is in these theaters that we seek to leverage everything we’ve got for the sake of Kingdom expansion.


At the local level, we want to engage as many students as possible with the gospel. We do this by getting them connected on the weekend (attending/serving) and during the week (Community Group). We then train students up to become community group leaders so that, when they are ready, they can plant a group on their own. From these community group leaders, we ask some to leverage two years of their lives after college by becoming a College Resident and planting as many groups as possible within two years. From the Bible, we understand that discipleship—word taught and life caught—happens in community. Our best move locally is to plant communities that have the gospel and display the gospel all over the campuses of the Triad.


As we move things on the ground, we always have other areas in view. Upon graduation, we desire to send our best student Community Group leaders and College Residents to help plant churches in cities across the United States, in hopes of taking more ground for our King. We want to raise up launch team members for each church plant we send out in order to plant 1,000 churches within a generation.


As we labor in our own country, we hope to send as many students to the nations as possible. We want to send them through semesters abroad and summer projects to the cities of the world.

College students are one of the most transient groups of people on Earth. They can study abroad in closed countries (fully funded at that) and gain access to places and peoples that missionaries can only dream of. They can take entire summers to get equipped and sent out to some of the hardest places on the planet. When they graduate, their degree and life stage enables them to take a job anywhere in the world, including countries without a sustainable gospel witness and work shoulder to shoulder with people who have literally never heard about Jesus.

Plain and simple, college ministry at Mercy Hill is a ministry inside of a movement.

Join the movement.

-Jon Sheets (College Ministry Director)

[1] J. D. Greear, Gaining by Losing, 28.