CEDARVILLE — For 50 years, Global Outreach has had a tremendous impact on the lives of students and faculty and staff members at Cedarville University. Global Outreach, originally known as the Mission Involvement Service (MIS), was founded in 1972 by Dr. Don Callan, former basketball coach and athletic director, and Pastor Harold Green, director of Christian ministries.
For the first trip 50 years ago, Callan led Cedarville’s basketball team to the Philippines. They partnered with local pastors to share the gospel in the same way that Callan experienced as a college student with his basketball team at Taylor University in the 1950s. It was through his college experience that Callan gained a passion for missions.
During the last 50 years, Callan has directed 35 trips to the Philippines, 33 of which he participated in.
In the mid-1970s, MIS expanded its mission trips. One of the first trips featured Cedarville singing groups that ministered in Australia under Green’s guidance. MIS teams have also traveled to eastern Europe, Russia and China.
It was in Budapest, Hungary, in the 1990s that the MIS committee met Brian Nester, who is now the director of Global Outreach.
“The goal of MIS was evangelism,” said Callan. “We wanted to share the gospel. We had a way to reach people, and we were actively pursuing ways to introduce Christ.”
Although the early mission trips centered on student trips, many faculty and staff members have participated in Cedarville’s international trips as well.
With an administration that strongly supports this initiative, Cedarville has seen incredible growth in its short-term mission program. Dr. Thomas White, president of the university, encourages every student to go on an overseas mission trip during their four years.
“It’s catching on, and it’s snowballing,” said Callan.
The university has developed relationships with churches and organizations around the world, and Cedarville students are being equipped to be missionaries — whether overseas or in the workplace — and to be faithful members of a church.
God has opened many doors for the gospel to go forth from Cedarville in the last 50 years, and who knows the doors he will open in the next 50 years.
And to the students who are considering long- or short-term missions, Nester, director of Global Outreach, said, “Just keep praying. Ask God to direct your steps, because he will.”