JACKSON, Tenn. – May 10, 2001 – Declaring that “in this room are future martyrs,” Memphis pastor Sam Shaw challenged Union University students to recognize that authentic Christian discipleship means “signing up for suffering.”
Shaw, a former international missionary and now pastor of Germantown Baptist Church in suburban Memphis, spoke to Union students as part of the annual commissioning service for summer missionaries. More than 160 Union students will be participating in mission projects this summer, in more than 20 nations and across the U.S.
Shaw reminded the students that their Christian experience in the U.S. has been dramatically different than that of Christians in much of the world.
“In the lifetime of everyone in this room, Christianity has been the dominant religion,” Shaw asserted. “We have the idea that because a person accepts Christ, life will be better. We’ve come to believe that because we are Christians, we should be treated better, that we should be comfortable and prosperous. The problem is, that’s not in the New Testament and it’s not true in much of the world.”
The former missionary told the students that Christian faith is not about comfort but about service, even when that involves risk. Shaw indicated that when someone truly lives for Christ, “ultimately the people around you will be polarized, driven to the poles of conversion or rejection and persecution.”
Despite the danger inherent of faith, Shaw pointed the students to the promise Jesus provided to His followers: “Jesus says the worst they can do is kill you. There are worse things than being killed – like hell.”
Sara B. Horn,