By Katie Galyean
When most people graduate from college they are focused on getting a job, their own place and moving up in the world. Jonathan Dickerson, 24, however, is more focused on serving others around the world.
Dickerson, son of Bruce and Toni Dickerson of Elizabethtown, first started volunteering with Campus Outreach, a college ministry, in 2011 and moved to a full time position in the fall of 2014.
This past summer he led a group of college students and spent six weeks with seven students in Davao in the Philippines, focusing on trying to discover new campuses for branches of Campus Outreach to be planted.
“[Campus Outreach] wants to extend their influence there, in Southeast Asia. So, our job was to go and survey the city, see if it was a safe place, see if it was a place that is spiritually interested at all. We did that specifically by getting on three different college campuses there and essentially just hanging out with the students there,” said Dickerson.
Dickerson said one of the goals of Campus Outreach is to show college students what it looks like to live out their faith away from home so when they are graduated and becoming established as their own person, they have a foundation of personal faith to pull from.
Dickerson said Campus Outreach had a significant impact on his own life while he was in college. “I actually became a Christian through the ministry while I was in college. You can kind of see a picture of the mission of the ministry with me coming on staff,” he said.
Another goal of Campus Outreach is to highlight the need for people to serve overseas in ministry. “The mindset is to expose them to what missions look like so they can go home and essentially reproduce that kind of mentality,” said Dickerson.
Most of the students who went with Dickerson this summer had recently decided to become Christians. “[We wanted them] to kind of get an idea of what it looks like to leverage their lives as some sort of missionary overseas, to get that vision of how much of a need there is for godly men and women to go out to these places where there is no Christian influence and just mention the gospel or even tell someone for the first time [about Jesus] who has no idea who Jesus is that there is a God out there and there is a way to get to Him,” said Dickerson.
“The hope is that they will go back to their friends on their college campus or back to their home church and say, ‘you know really we aren’t giving as much support to overseas missionaries as we probably think or would like to give,’” said Dickerson.
Dickerson said, “I find the mission’s goal can be simply summed up as making disciples, followers of Christ, who make disciples.”
Dickerson’s staff position itself in Campus Outreach creates the opportunity for people to participate in the ministry’s mission and in giving to foreign mission trips. “It is a completely fundraised position,” said Dickerson.
“The cool thing for Bladen County is I’m this kid and I lived there my whole life, I grew up there, and now I’m out doing [missions]. Now I can come back and say, ‘Hey, the $50 you support me with went to me going and sharing the gospel with these people,’” said Dickerson.
Campus Outreach has staff members stationed at UNC Chapel Hill, Duke University, NC State, UNC Wilmington, Campbell University and East Carolina University. After graduating from UNC Chapel Hill, Dickerson was placed at Duke University’s Campus Outreach as a staff member.
The students who went on the mission trip with Dickerson were from UNC Chapel Hill, NC State, East Carolina University and Campbell University.
“The biggest thing at the center of my heart is that people would just understand that there are opportunities for them to engage in God’s mission globally right at their back door,” said Dickerson.
More information on Campus Outreach can be found on their website at campusoutreach.org. If you are interested in helping to support Dickerson or would like updates on his ministry, you can contact him through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.