By Elizabeth Young
While celebrating the 75th anniversary of Baptist collegiate ministry in Arizona this year, Christian Challenge is making some transitions, Brad Schneeflock told Arizona Southern Baptists’ Convention Council at their meeting March 1 in Tempe.
“Today we’re holding on to [our] heritage and our history, our missions focus, and we’re moving forward into what God has called us to do as we engage campuses with the gospel,” said Schneeflock, who became Christian Challenge statewide director a year ago.
The task is large, with 500,000 college students in Arizona and more than 30 campuses where Christian Challenge would like to have a ministry presence, he said.
To guide a new unified statewide strategy, leaders have developed mission and vision statements.
The mission statement defines the three things Christian Challenge does: “We exist to engage college students with the gospel, develop disciples of Jesus Christ, and mobilize servant leaders for the church.”
The vision statement says, “We are committed to seeing vibrant communities of college students, who love God, live for Christ, and serve in the power of the Holy Spirit, impacting every university and community college in Arizona.”
The regional model Schneeflock employed during his six years as metro collegiate evangelism strategist in the Phoenix area is being expanded to encompass the state, he said. With six regions, the urban centers with major state universities and the community colleges in those areas are covered. The regions include northern Arizona, southern Arizona and four regions across metro Phoenix.
“Our goal is to establish teams of campus missionaries engaging all of the campuses in a particular region rather than to just have one staff member on one campus,” Schneeflock said. “We want teams of staff members engaging those campuses together,” with each region being led by a regional director.
Christian Challenge also wants to see ministry in more rural areas, including the White Mountains, the Colorado River cities, Prescott, Payson, Sierra Vista and Thatcher, he said.
“We have college campuses in all of these communities that need an evangelical presence on the campus,” he said.
The strategy will be different here, because of the lack of availability of full-time missionaries, he said.
However, he said, churches in several areas have expressed interest in partnering with Christian Challenge and taking ownership of the ministry on a particular campus. The prayer now is to find a key leader — a part-time staff member, a volunteer, a parent, a church staff member, a professor — for the ministry.
Schneeflock is expanding statewide the funding strategy that has been used in metro Phoenix, with campus missionaries raising their own support.
“That has to be our strategy,” he said. “We see a mission field that desperately needs missionaries, and the way to multiply our effort and raise up more missionaries is going to be through support development.”
This year, Christian Challenge will move to this model as the sole funding strategy, with frontline missionaries who have previously been salaried, including Schneeflock, raising their support. Campus missionaries will receive training and coaching in how to raise support and will be expected to maintain their complete support goal, he said.
With a current staff of 15 campus missionaries, Schneeflock said the dream of Christian Challenge is “to mobilize an army of well-equipped and fully-funded campus missionaries,” doubling, tripling or more the present number.
Other goals and dreams include having a ministry on every college campus in the state, engaging thousands of students with the gospel every year and creating a leadership pipeline that feeds local churches with young ministry leaders.
In order for the God-given dreams to come true, Schneeflock said, Christian Challenge is praying for and asking for prayer support, more campus missionaries to be mobilized, strong partnerships with churches and church staff, and financial resources for present and new ministries.