North Central students and faculty gave $12,280.81 over the course of 17 Friday chapel services during the 2016-17 school year. Each Friday during chapel, a special offering was collected after worship. The money went to support individuals and families working in missions around the world.
Offerings for missions work have traditionally been collected at North Central during Friday chapel services, but more structure was added to the offering time this school year. Doug Graham, vice president of spiritual life, asked Nick Robertson to oversee the Friday offerings when Robertson became the director of Intercultural Studies in 2015. As Robertson observed these offerings during his first year at North Central, he took initiative to bring clarity to the process.
Beginning last fall, Robertson decided to highlight a specific missionary or family who would receive the money that particular week. He discussed the idea with Graham and they set a basic parameter that the highlighted missionary be connected to North Central, preferably as an alumnus. Robertson showed a brief video from the highlighted missionary each week to introduce chapel attendees to the person the offering would be supporting.
Robertson saw the Friday chapel offerings as a way to directly help seasoned North Central alumni in missions, as well as recent North Central graduates preparing to leave for the mission field.
“North Central has rich areas of alumni, and many [are] in missions who have gone and done some phenomenal things,” Robertson said.
Robertson integrated the Friday missionary highlights with the Thursday night prayer meetings hosted each week on campus by the Antioch Society. This gave the designated week’s missionary or family the opportunity to visit campus and share more of their story. The missionaries often stayed overnight to join the student body in chapel when the offering was taken.
This integration of the Friday mission’s guest and the prayer meetings gave students attending the prayer meetings an opportunity to interact with seasoned missionaries, as well as recent graduates and young families preparing to reach the world with the gospel for the first time.
Robertson finds endless value in giving students the chance to give money to missions work. He plans to continue focusing on missionaries with North Central connections during future semesters.
“Part of being a Christian is giving and this is one of the only chances on campus for students to give,” Robertson said. “When we give [to missions] we are taking something that is temporal and changing it into something that is eternal.”
The money that comes in through these Friday offerings is recorded and transferred directly to the missionary’s accounts with the mission agencies they are working with. This allows the missionaries to use the gift for areas of their budget that need to be met.
“There are hundreds of different people or entities giving something [to missionaries], Robertson said. “We get to be a part of that mosaic [with these offerings].”