GenSend Helps College Students Venture to Urban Areas to Share the Gospel

Dylan and Autumn Pentecost stand together outside a church plant in Montréal. Dylan and Autumn grew up in the same town in Tennessee before attending the University of Tennessee together. They both served as North American Mission Board GenSend student missionaries in Canada on different trips before getting married and answering the call to become church planting missionaries in Montréal.
Submitted photo

College-age students are moving to urban areas across North America in search of opportunity. For one group, however, the opportunity they seek is not economic but spiritual.

Students who participate in Send Relief’s GenSend program want to further the cause of Christ in areas where the Gospel has not taken root. Nearly 80 percent of the population of the United States and Canada now lives in and around major cities, and there is a large gap in the church-to-population ratio in those urban and suburban areas.

GenSend gives college-age students a chance to spend their summer on mission within one of the North American Mission Board’s Send Cities. Through GenSend, they see what it’s like to be a missionary in the city. Nearly a third of those students decide to move back to the cities where they invested their summers.

This summer 247 students have served through GenSend in 17 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Montreal, Quebec

Dylan and Autumn Pentecost recently graduated from the University of Tennessee and plan to move to Montreal this winter. They grew up in the same town of Portland, Tenn., then attended college together.

Dylan and Autumn have been accepted as church planting team members with Renaissance Church in Montreal, Quebec. Before they made the decision to apply as NAMB church planting missionaries, however, Dylan and Autumn spent time in Montreal with GenSend.

During the summer of 2015, Dylan’s GenSend experience impacted him so much that he began praying about God’s leading in his life.

“I think the most impactful thing I experienced and learned was that we are called to be [Jesus] among [people] wherever we are,” Dylan said. “My life should always reflect Jesus, and I should take that wherever I go.”

Once Dylan returned, Autumn took note of how the trip had deepened his faith. His desire to return to Montreal grew, and as his and Autumn’s relationship continued toward marriage, Autumn decided to visit Montreal on her own.

“I knew that I needed to see for myself if Montreal was a place I was called to because of [Dylan’s] great love for the city,” Autumn said. “The Lord put everything into place from timing for our wedding and school … to covering finances” without ever asking her hometown church, First Baptist in Portland, Tenn., for funding.

During the summer of 2017, Autumn traveled to Montreal with GenSend to see if the Lord was directing her steps to the city. “There was a day when I was walking to Renaissance Church, and I just broke down and cried at the thought of having to leave,” she recounted.

Now, God has called them to serve the community in Montreal as a married couple.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press, Brandon Elrod