The Call to Disciple the Nation

Why The Virtues Campus? 
With this question, I invite you into a conversation about Jesus’ call to the Church in America. A second quickly follows: Will the Church in America accept its God-given obligation to disciple the nation? 
The conversation we begin here is intended to raise questions, be provocative, challenge theologies, evaluate practices, gain historical perspective, seek solutions, test assumptions, and foster lively dialogue. I hope you will join us.
In a recent discussion with a church leader about Jesus’ command to the Church in America to “Go and disciple the nation…” (Matt. 28:19) he asked, “But what does discipling a nation look like?”  We have a clearer picture of what evangelizing people in America looks like: evangelism rallies, street evangelism, outreach bible studies, one-on-one witnessing, the Alpha course.  We have an idea of what discipling Christians in our churches looks like: bible study, a devotional life, prayer, spiritual gifts to serve others, small group accountability, personal morality, a vital worship life. But he was asking something else: “What does discipling a nation look like?”
In early America the Church birthed many great universities because the Great Commission to disciple the nation required grounding younger generations in Truth. The Church was nurtured on the epistles of the apostle Paul who was never tired of reiterating that he was called to be a preacher and a teacher because God wants all people not only to be saved, but “to come to the knowledge of the truth” (I Timothy 2:3-7; 3:15; 2 Timothy 1:11; 2:24-25; 3:16; 4:2 etc.). Paul repeatedly reminds Timothy and Titus that their calling is to preach and teach. One qualification of being an elder must be an ability to teach.
Not all of America’s founding fathers and citizens affirmed the Apostle’s Creed. Some, who swore by the Scriptures, did not live by them. Others twisted the word of truth to suit their vested interests. Nevertheless, the core ideas that shaped their worldview, the highest ideals that inspired their sociopolitical vision, and the common virtues that fueled their educational efforts to build a great nation, came from the Scriptures.
From Genesis to Revelation, nations are important to God. He holds them accountable. He judges and blesses nations. In Genesis, He promised Abraham that he would become the father of a great nation. In that vision of the throne of God and the Lamb in Revelation, the tree of life yields its fruit and its leaves are for the healing of the nations. America became a great nation because education equipped generations with the compass of God’s Word. That set them free to scout non-biblical literature and cultures, appreciate wisdom, reject diabolical deceptions that had harmed other cultures, and adopt all insights consistent with divine wisdom. The Church in early America discipled the nation by teaching its youth that Jesus and His word and works were the Truth that gave sight and understanding and meaning to all academic disciplines and to all of life.
During the 20th Century, however, secularization robbed many Americans of VERITAS – the compass of God’s Truth. As they sailed into deep seas, many drank the exotic contaminations. Far too many shipwrecked their lives. What once was individual tragedy has now become a national crises. Deprived of the compass, the American titanic has little chance of escaping icebergs that have crashed all humanistic follies without exception.
Today, 70% of 18-22 year old students stop attending church after leaving high school (Lifeway Research). One-third of this Generation of “Nones” under the age of 30 are religiously unaffiliated, the highest percentage ever in Pew Research Center polling.
Can we sit idly by when most of the great universities the Church built in America’s early years are now robbing the church of 70% of her young people? Is there a way to make Christ-centered education affordable and accessible to all? The Virtues Campus is more than an attempt to avert a great global disaster. It is a mission to bless and heal the nation by equipping the Church to marinate future leaders and citizens in truth and godly character. Virtues’ call is to equip local churches to bring the youth back into the church, at least for two years of their college studies.
What if thousands of churches in this 21st Century rise up and answer the call to educate and disciple America’s next generations by becoming host sites of church-based colleges?
We invite you to take a place at the table. I encourage your participation in the conversation…

NOTE: Vishal Mangalwadi, author, lecturer, social reformer, is the visionary inspiration behind The Virtues Campus. These articles will often articulate the thoughts and concepts put forth by Mangalwadi in his books and lectures, but whose final content will be my sole responsibility.