When we think about our vision for our students in our ministry, do we ever dream of seeing students being a part of planting churches? Here at The Summit Church, we have a vision of planting 1,000 churches over the next 40 years (or 36 years now I guess.) The reality with that vision? Many of those church planters are in our students/kids ministries, some of which are not even followers of Christ Jesus yet! Did you catch that? Some of the future leaders in our churches are sitting in school lunch rooms down the street from your church, pursuing and building their own kingdoms right now and not the Kingdom of God. The good news? Your ministry can play a crucial part in seeing that student come to faith in Christ and, in my opinion become one of next generation of church planters. Here are a few things I’m learning in this process of putting “Church Planting” on the forefront of your Student Ministry:
- Build a healthy view of the church: One of the main ways that students begin to love the church is when we model, teach, live out what a healthy church looks like and build an understanding that the church is “God’s Plan A” for reaching the nations. Why would students want to plant churches if they don’t have an idea of the importance of the church and her role in kingdom advancement?
- Partner with Church Planters: When you have the opportunity to go somewhere for a mission trip, partner with church planters. If you’re considering going through an organization, ask them who the church planter you’ll be working with on the ground will be. If they don’t work with the local church, my suggestion would be to look elsewhere. I know that’s not always a popular sentiment, but if you specifically want to build a culture of church planting in your student ministry, you’ve got to work with church planters as much as possible. (I can talk on this point for a long time about creative ways to partner with church planters while on the trips, but maybe we’ll save that for another blog post.)
- Invite Church Planters to come and recruit your students: Yes, that’s right. Give church planters a platform in your student ministry and watch what happens. We’ve had students make college choices based on locations of our Summit Church plants because they believe in the vision.
- Let them lead early on: Give students an opportunity to lead within areas of your student ministry. Let your high school students co-lead/lead middle school bible studies, plant small groups on their campuses, etc. When we let students lead, we free them up to to believe that they can have an impact and influence. In essence, that’s what church planting does; it creates platforms for kingdom impact and influence.
This is by no means exhaustive, and I’d love to hear some of your thoughts as well!