James Madison University, located in the small town of Harrisonburg, Virginia just held their 20+ year reunion of disciples who have been part of that campus ministry since year 2000. Though this 20 year reunion was delayed a bit by the pandemic, the anticipation to reunite only grew stronger and the celebration commemorated 22 years since the campus mission team was sent to plant a ministry in that small campus town. The original team of 10 who started the JMU ministry were freshmen who had just graduated from teen ministry together, along with a few transfer students, with a small and supportive home church located about an hour down the interstate.

Though JMU remained a relatively small yet tight-knit campus ministry throughout those years, there have been about 15 students from that campus over those years who have gone into full time ministry both locally and abroad, the majority of whom are currently leading small churches and ministries along the east coast of the US. On the international front, Dave and Megan Bliley, who lead in New Zealand, and Sam and Michelle Cameron, who lead in Australia, had their early years of training as student leaders at JMU, and were members of the original mission team.

In addition to service in full time ministry, many faithful alumni have been making significant contributions to their churches and communities — worship leaders, children’s ministry coordinators, servant leaders, just to name a few. Amelia Foard, a JMU alumni, is now living out her dream job as a coordinator for HOPE worldwide. One incredible highlight of this reunion was seeing how these friendships built in college have now transferred onto the next generation, where the kids of alumni are now building connections and dreaming about their future together as the next generation of campus ministry. James Madison University now has what the original team dreamed about – a region of mature disciples planted right nearby, and ready to adopt the next crop of faithful disciples on campus.

Also, since the planting of a campus ministry at JMU, there are now churches with campus ministries all throughout southwest Virginia including Roanoke College, Virginia Tech & Radford University, and now Liberty University & Lynchburg University, which were planted during the pandemic! We are inspired by all God has done over time in these small campus towns, and pray for even greater things to come. After all, “Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few” – 1 Samuel 14:6.

If you are interested in joining or supporting JMU or any of these frontier ministries of Virginia, please contact jonrlandis@gmail.com.