FROM BLOOD compacts to classroom walk-outs, revolutions have truly evolved by nature. At present, there are fewer killings to none at all, but younger and younger revolutionaries have expressed their desire for change. This discontentment may find its roots in different sectors of society, but truth be told: the youth wants change and they want it now.
But the mere existence of revolutionary groups is proof that years have already passed but things are no different. What exactly is the problem? Today’s student activists grace the streets with their rallies in hopes of letting the government hear their cries for change. Hearing them is one thing, but listening to them is another, and it is safe to say that the government has long turned a deaf ear to these futile ways.
Another brand of revolutionaries, however, took a different approach. Theirs is the hope that the change will start not in finding blame in the government but in accepting what the real problem is and starting from there. This new brand of revolution is not totally foreign.
This is the Jesus revolution.
Christian student movements are the new breed of revolutionaries in our midst. They cry for change, they long for revival, and they carry with them a Banner that speaks forth faith, hope and love. They all have one message in common, their starting point and conclusion: Jesus Christ.
Two of these student movements are JZone Ateneo and UP CCC. These are student organizations driven by a vision to impact the society not with their street-wide rallies but with their faith.
JZone is the youth group of Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF), a Born-Again Christian church located in Mandaluyong, with outreaches in Alabang and Fairview to name some. In Ateneo, JZone is a student movement of young Christian individuals that allows the body of believers within the university to have a group that they can run to.
Deborah Victa is a junior Communications major from Ateneo de Manila University. She is an active member of JZone Ateneo, and the head of The Big Umbrella, a JZone event held every month that serves as the entry point for students who want to join Bible study groups.
“This year we’re going with the theme that every student is a Jesus zone. The central theme of JZone is being able to step out of your comfort zone and move into your Jesus zone,” Deborah explained. “Every single student is a Jesus zone and it should reflect in the way they speak, the way they talk. They should also influence others to step out of their own.”
Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) is a student movement in universities across the country. “It starts actually with believers and followers of Jesus who desire to have individuals really know and experience their Savior,” Pristine Roxas, a full-time staff of CCC said.
“We want to see movements everywhere until everybody knows someone or everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus Christ. This is the battle cry of CCC.”
Pristine is a fresh Communication graduate from Ateneo who signed up as a full-time minister for CCC. At present, she is training as part of the University of the Philippines CCC (UP CCC).
In the beginning
The journey for an aspiring Jesus revolutionist begins by accepting Christ as personal Lord and Savior. For Pristine, UP is a very strategic area for this movement. “We are reaching these students who are living for a certain cause. They value their families, they value society, [and] they value education. They will really speak up for change. Imagine if we reach these students, and they have the heart for Jesus Christ, they will have that burden to go wherever God sends them and to really make a drastic change through the Message of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Members of both organizations share the Gospel through random evangelism. “We go out in groups of twos and then we talk to random people that we find and share the Gospel to them,” Deborah said. “We sit down with them, and then we talk to them. Through whatever they’re sharing, we get to insert the Gospel and probably pray for them, encourage them.”
“It’s really approaching people, [and] sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. We’re reaching out strangers, university students that you may not even know, and we allow God to lead us,” Pristine said.
Rejection and persecution is also part of the experience, and these two girls had their fair share of rejection while sharing the Word of God. “[A lot of people] rejected because they’re just comfortable in the way they are now or they just don’t believe in God. The confidence that we have is that we shared the Gospel. We did our part, the seed was planted, and everything else [is up to] God,” Deborah shared. Pristine said that when students are shared with the Gospel, most of them accept it out of politeness and not of willingness.
A new believer is encouraged to join a Bible study group and a local church for spiritual growth and maturity. Both JZone Ateneo and UP CCC conduct Bible studies for every believer.
Patterned after the example of Jesus Christ, JZone’s Bible study groups are called DGroups. “A DGroup basically means discipleship group,” Deborah explained. “It is a branching out system patterned after Jesus’ discipleship wherein He had the twelve [disciples], His first twelve, and then when He went back to heaven, His twelve also started their own groups of twelve.”
Deborah continued, “It’s kind of like a virus, I can’t exactly explain it, [but] once you get to influence one, that person is bound to influence another, [like] networking.”
UP CCC calls this branching out system as spiritual multiplication. “It starts from one individual who desires to see change through Jesus, [who is] committed to lead, to reach out [to] a group of students.” Pristine said.
For Deborah, the branching out is not instant, but gradual. Yet once it starts increasing, in her words, “Bongga talaga.” But for Pristine, it can be so rapid that in a semester, what started as a 10-member Bible study group can multiply to 40.
Student movements and student activism have one thing in common, in that they aspire for change. But what makes them totally different from each other is their approach. Student activists see that the problem is outside of themselves, and that what needs to be changed is the system, the governance even. But members of Christian student movements see that the real problem is actually rooted from the inside of the self.
Resty Yanga, senior pastor of the Community of the Resurrected Christ International, Inc. shared his experience as an activist during his college days. “I was once an activist who believed that communism can change my country’s condition. I was willing to die for my beliefs, hoping it can change [the] people and [the] nation.”
“I was wrong,” Resty continued. “Only Jesus can change a person by giving him [a] new life free from [the] slavery of sin.”
Pristine quoted Romans 3: 23. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. That’s the problem that we’re pointing out. This is the root problem, and what is the answer?”
“Student activists are just angry all the time,” Deborah shared. “Not to brag, but I do honestly believe that student movements [are] much more successful [than student activism] because I would like to think that people are more attracted to love.”
And the greatest of these is love
There are still great battles to fight, wars to win, and souls to bring to Christ. Equipped with the Word of God and a burning desire to preach the Gospel, the army of God is already advancing.
And the secret weapon of these Jesus revolutionaries?
Deborah concluded: “Love, in the way that Jesus did, patterned after Jesus’ love.”