Growing Disciples at ASU Downtown Christian Challenge

By Noah Jaeger | May 31, 2022

Five years ago, Mercy Hill Church affiliated with Christian Challenge to launch a campus ministry at Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix campus. Margarete Moffett and I were serving with Christian Challenge at ASU’s Tempe campus when we heard about the new start up. After much prayer, we were sent down to Downtown Phoenix to launch the ministry.

Margarete and I faced many hardships and experienced many rewards through our time at ASU Downtown. However, two of the greatest blessings from our ministry were Ellie Lambert and Andrew Smith.

Lambert joined our Christian Challenge ministry toward the end of her freshman year, got heavily involved her sophomore year and joined our student leadership team her junior year. After her junior year, she accepted an invitation to join our staff team as an apprentice for her senior year.

Lambert was a journalism student approaching graduation when COVID-19 prevented our ministry, as well as most others, from meeting in person. Reaching students in the start of the fall seemed bleak.

However, over the summer at the beginning of her apprenticeship, Lambert created a social media outreach plan where we could meet seeker students through Instagram and Facebook. After the first few weeks of the fall semester, Lambert managed to connect with about 50 students online, and 25 of those students met with our team for Gospel conversations over Zoom. Many of those students entered discipleship relationships, and some even gave their lives to Christ through our Zoom gatherings.

During this online era, we added Andrew Smith, a junior, kinesiology major, to our student leader team. While discipling him, I witnessed Smith take tremendous strides in his relationship with Christ. His understanding of God’s grace and his desire to lead with vulnerability were incredibly deep. For his senior year, he was invited to join our staff team as an apprentice.

This year, I was transitioning from the ASU Downtown campus to my new role as launch catalyst with Christian Challenge, assisting churches in launching new Challenge chapters on campuses across the state. As a result, Lambert and Smith needed to step up in their roles and run the ministry for the 2021-22 school year.

In all my time in ministry, I have never seen young leaders so focused on prayer for the harvest. All summer, they prayed fervently for young leaders who would reach the campus with the Gospel.

Through on-campus and social media outreach, our campus witnessed more students come to Christ, be connected to discipleship and raised up as leaders than any year before.

Freshmen were praying for their dorm and sharing the Gospel in elevators. We had 39 students involved in 1-on-1 discipleship relationships, and eight students committed their lives to Christ.

Students bravely shared their testimonies at our main gathering and witnessed people give their lives to Christ afterward. From their leadership, the campus experienced a movement of God.

“Our students genuinely see ASU as a mission field, which is a great indicator for what God can do through them in these upcoming semesters,” Smith said.

What impressed me, perhaps the most, was the incredible humility this team showed. Regardless of their talents and success, Lambert and Smith always committed themselves and their students to the labor of prayer. They were committed to God receiving the credit for all the work being done and constantly reminded their students of how God wants their availability to the Holy Spirit as much as their abilities.

This upcoming fall semester, Lambert has come on full-time staff with Christian Challenge, and Smith has joined part-time to reach the campus with the Gospel. Please commit to praying for these faithful missionaries as they devote their hearts and lives to the work of the Great Commission.

Noah Jaeger, a freelance writer and photographer, is a member of North Phoenix Baptist Church and is the launch catalyst with Christian Challenge AZ.

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