History of Campus Missions International

The ministry of Campus Missions International started at the campus of Northern Illinois University in the spring semester of 1991. From the beginning CMI has been a fellowship that offers students the opportunity to grow by studying the Bible, worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ and sharing the power of Christian living. It is a Christian fellowship offering the encouragement of the Full Gospel message declaring, "...you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be my witnesses..." Acts 1: 8

CMI was founded by Tom and Jan May, graduates in 1984 of North Central Bible College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They immediately entered into ministry serving as Youth Pastors for the next two years. Thereafter, Tom and Jan began four years of extensive training and preparation throughout the United States in college campus ministry. By 1990, they came to the northern Illinois area to establish an ongoing campus ministry at NIU. Today, Tom and Jan have two children, Rachel and Daniel. The direction God gave Tom in 1979 while in Bible College, was to reach the lost souls in the Chicagoland area. What better way to reach a generation than by evangelizing the young people of today's society!


why niu?

Of the nearly 23,000 students, over 13,500 students are 23 years of age or less. Almost 13,000 students live on or within a two mile radius of the campus. Currently, NIU has almost 2,000 Black students, over 1,000 Asian students, nearly 1,000 Hispanic students, and around 50 Native American students. About 17,500 students are White. Although much is said about fair representation for all ethnic groups to create "unity through diversity", rarely do you see these groups cross racial or ethnic lines in true relationship.

True relationships can only be found in the family of God. Additionally, NIU has over 1160 international students from more than 100 different countries. Countries which have 25 or more students are: The Peoples Republic of China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Taiwan. Those returning to their native countries import what they have received in the U.S., even the gospel! Many international students already come as Christians, and others will return with the Gospel message.

In the classroom, students are taught that truth is relative, there are no absolutes; right and wrong is determined by the individual and society. With reasoning like this, truth can change at any time. Where is the stability? If not stated, it is usually implied that patriotism and/or nationalism is not practical today. There is an agenda to facilitate the acceptance of a new world order. Even the Philosophy of World Religion course has the goal to minimize the differences between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in order to reconcile them. This popular course also attempts to harmonize the Eastern mystical religions with those of the West. Additionally, NIU's history and science courses teach the theory of evolution as if it were fact. 

Outside the classroom, NIU has diverse extra curricular activities. Among the student organizations are the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Coalition, National Organization for Women, the Marxist Humanist Form, the Islamic Society, the Church of Latter Day Saints, and the Bahai Club just to name a few. There are various fraternities and sororities, and student athletic clubs, as well as other political organizations and religious groups. Most students get together by the end of the week at bars, socials, and private house parties. Others attend exclusive parties held by fraternities and sororities. There are ten popular bars within a mile and a half radius of campus that serve the student body. When the bars close, the official "after hours" parties start. The drinking, drugs, sexual immorality, and lack of accountability lead some students to self-destruction. The student usually exits college much more wounded and addicted to sin than when he or she entered. When these students return to their respective towns, cities, and countries, this bondage is exported into the bloodstream of society. We see more white collar crime, violence, sexually transmitted diseases, abortions, suicide, divorce, depression and despair in society than everbefore. NIU is truly a mission field and that is why we are here.


The Great Commission: "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you..." Matthew 28:18-20


Reaching people with the Gospel is exactly what the Lord Jesus Christ calls His church to do when He said, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men" Matt. 4:19. Once people discover their identity in Christ, they are free to become like Him. Therefore, we are at the campus to tell others about Jesus Christ and see them commit their lives to Him. God's heart longs for their lost souls. Thus evangelism and missions are a must! Through personal witnessing, Bible studies and multimedia presentations, we are able to win decisive victories for our Lord.


the campus house

The CMI campus house is a house of abundant life; a testimony of the Lord's presence, to the university and the neighborhood of which we are a part. Located in an area known for it's party culture, the house sits strategically on the east side of campus, across the street from the Music and Art buildings. During the weekly Saturday night services, the sound of praise can be heard from the house, all the way down the street for blocks. Anyone passing by can see clearly through the front sanctuary windows, believers lifting hands in praise and worship. In fact, during services, people have come in off the street, touched by the Holy Spirit and have committed their lives to Jesus as a result of what they have seen and heard! A large banner across the top of the campus house proclaiming, "JESUS CHRIST IS LORD of Northern Illinois University" makes it easy to identify who we are and what we believe.

The campus house is an activity center for the dynamics of Christian living. It is a sanctuary to the Lord where the Kingdom of God can be experienced. Jesus is placed in the highest place of every believer's heart. Students can come in and find refuge from the storms of everyday college pressure. It is a place of fellowship and discipleship where Christ-centered relationships are nurtured and developed. As a result, it is a place of anointing and healing, where the addictive powers of this world are broken. The bondages of sin no longer hinder the power of God in the believer's life. Weekly activities like prayer meetings, men's and women's Bible studies, as well as various classes for leadership and evangelism are helpful tools to equip each believer for every good work. The campus house is a place of discipleship and training in the graces and disciplines of following Jesus from a whole heart. As each person receives the blessings of God, they learn to grow in grace.

The routine chores and house maintenance help develop a sense of responsibility and Godly character. The residents of the house are a combination of students and graduates. As a team, each member can spark one another in the faith by daily practical living. All the aspects of the campus house working together make it a great place to learn how to follow through with commitment to God and to our fellow man.

Lastly, the CMI campus house is a fellowship dedicated to raising Christian leaders who serve God's purposes. These young men and women pursue the opportunity to present the gospel. They are laying a foundation of righteousness for future generations of NIU students and even societies around the world.

covenant life groups

Groups of men and groups of women meeting for weekly fellowship, teaching, accountability, and prayer to develop a deeper relationship with the Lord. Vital preparation for lay ministry.

Jesus is the reason we are here!

It's our desire to see the lost come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and to be trained in the areas of discipleship for the kingdom
of God.


The Lord Himself commissions us to make disciples of all nations, to baptize and to teach them all He commanded. Disciples are simply a whole-hearted followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. We grow and mature in daily devotion to Him. Knowing Jesus through personal relationship is good training and success for anything in life. This process is vital while on the college campus. That is why we offer discipleship courses, Bible studies for new believers, evangelism classes, leadership training, and various leadership conferences.


Our purpose is not only to make disciples, but also to send them into life's harvest fields. The college campus is our first field. By starting at the university we "bloom where we're planted". In the Summer, "Sending" also takes on new dimensions while on short term mission trips. Upon graduation, most students will return to a local community setting and enter the work force. Many students will marry and establish families. Ultimately, we are sending disciples into all spheres of society. Likewise, international students return home as missionaries. Since they already know the native language and culture all that's needed is the Gospel of Christ!