PULSE was invited to Columbia by student leaders who were longing for spiritual awakening on their campus. As an Ivy League school, Columbia is one of the most academically rigorous environments in the country—and one where it is increasingly unpopular to believe in Jesus.
The leaders who invited us shared that faculty and students in the Ivy League often see faith as incompatible with being an intellectual. But because of how the media paints Christians, most know surprisingly little about who Jesus truly is or what it really means to follow Him. PULSE was asked to bring the simple message of Jesus’ hope to permeate the campus.
We knew we needed to partner with as many people on campus as possible—and immerse everything in fervent prayer that God would move.
We began praying in August, 2014. Twenty-one individuals representing 15 churches and ministries joined the PULSE team in New York City for a Pastor’s Lunch. The goal of everyone there was the same: to build toward a season of outreach at Columbia and to pray for spiritual awakening to sweep the campus.
We also prayed God would raise up students to lead the outreach—and we emailed everyone on the PULSE email lists to pray alongside us. We hosted a UNITE event at St. Paul’s Chapel in New York, and students came out to pray and worship together, and be equipped to share Jesus. By mid-September, we had a passionate team of student leaders ready to engage their campus and invite their friends to the big event.
By the day of the event, October 2, students had invested their time, money, and prayers. Together, they were building toward the largest campus event of the year—one where students who didn’t know Jesus would get the opportunity to make a life-changing decision. It wasn’t going to be an ordinary concert. Colton Dixon was there, Switchfoot was there, and Nick Hall was ready to speak—all free to students. Students came from all different sections of New York, and even New Jersey, and lined up around the block to get in. Even with all the build-up, Nick still said he felt nervous walking out on that stage knowing it was an Ivy League school.
The ministry leaders said that was as much as 4 times the students they would normally see come to Jesus in a single year—and it happened in a single night in response to God’s people coming together.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that the Gospel isn’t effective or relevant to different audiences. I don’t care if you’re at a tech school or an Ivy League, on Wall Street or Main Street in your community—Jesus saves and the Gospel works.”
God is resetting this generation. We’re excited to see what God’s going to do on that campus next. God gave us an open door into this city and into a generation of future leaders. We’re praying for revival and a domino effect of people sharing Jesus in the city.