God gave Joshua a big challenge – capture the Promised Land beginning at the impregnable city of Jericho. As you recall, Jericho was the city near the Jordan River with massive walls. It would either be the gateway opening to or the wall blocking the Hebrews from the Promised Land of Canaan. It had to be taken in order to take the Promised Land.
So God gave them an unusual battle plan (Joshua 6:2-5): 1. Being led by the Ark of the Covenant, they were tomarch around the city once a day for six days. 2. March around the city seven times on the seventh day. 3. After the marches are complete, the priests blast their trumpets and all the people shout together.
As you know, after all of the marching, trumpeting and shouting, the walls fell down and the Israelis stormed the city and won a great victory! Yeah God!
UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) is our Jericho. The large urban university (28,000 students) is one of the least reached campuses in the US. Built around a Mormon (LDS) “church” and Institute of Religion Student Center, the campus has historically been very resistant to Christian groups. Christian involvement is minimal. Commuter campuses are notoriously hard to reach. For example, even though Cru, (Campus Crusade for Christ), has active ministries on 1,064 college and university campuses yet, they have given up and left UNLV. The Southern Baptist group did not number more than a handful of students involved. Apart from Grace City, the only other Christian group with more than ten active students is Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship with a little over 50 active students.
The University of Nevada in Las Vegas (UNLV) is the largest university in Nevada with 28,000 students- nearly all of whom are commuters. It is located just over a mile from the famous Las Vegas Strip. Many of the students work in the hospitality industry of the many casinos, stores, restaurants and clubs that are located on the strip. It is the 10th most ethnically diverse university in the country. The Running Rebels are a top 25 Division 1 men’s basketball team. Fraternities and sororities are the most popular campus students groups.
THE UNLV JERICHO PLAN
Last year, we implemented our own version of the Jericho Plan. During the week before classes started, we prayed, worshipped, and faith walked on campus. This was followed by nearly a week of on-campus Block Parties. Last year we gave out thousands of water bottles and snow cones and had about 500 students express enough interest to share their information with us.
After our first Jericho Week on campus last August, Grace City launched our collegiate ministry at UNLV (Grace City UNLV). We soon had 60 active students in two large group Bible studies and our attendance swelled as high as 80. Many students came to Christ. Attendance topped a hundred a few times last winter and the number of active students involved was almost 80.
Make no mistake, last fall’s success would have never occurred without us first winning the battle in the spiritual before attempting to do ministry. Therefore, we had our second JERICHO WEEK this past week (August 19-22) with prayer centered in and around the Student Union of UNLV.
Jericho Week will be followed by a series of four large block parties to be held the first day of classes in the free Speech Zone in the heart of UNLV. Friends from Cross Creek Community church in Wilkes Barre, PA and River Cities Community Church in Huntington, WV will be helping us at the block parties. Our first fall UNLV Bible Study of this semester is Monday night August 26th.
PRAY WITH US FOR UNLV!
Pray for us.
This week, we are reigniting our two Tuesday large group on campus Bible studies and adding a third group on Monday’s. We have being praying on campus daily for the last two weeks. This week we are going to be giving away hot chocolate and warm coffee as we invite hundreds of new students to check out one of our Bible studies.
At Grace City we love to do hard things in tough places so God gets all the glory. Pray that God will gain much glory from UNLV this semester.