Developing a Sending Student Ministry, Part 3: Your Students, New Seasons and Church Planting
Every student in your ministry will eventually move on to the next season of their life. That next season may be attending school somewhere, going into the workplace, military, or the “I’m not quite so sure what I want to do so I guess I’ll do nothing while living at home with mom and keep trying to come to youth group and hang out with all of my friends” season. The question now is “how do you prepare them to think missionally about that decision?”
The statement “Do what you do well for the glory of God, but do it somewhere strategic for the mission of God” (as we discussed in the 2nd post of this series) is vital as we begin to help students think strategically about their decision. But here’s the thing: the question can’t pop up on their radar during the last semester of their senior year. It has to be talked about, highlighted, and prayed for from the time they entered your ministry in middle school. We spend a lot of time with our students talking about using their gifts that God has given them to give glory to God, but we challenge them to think about how they will use them to advance God’s mission; namely through the planting of churches.
Today, I want to offer a few practical tips on helping students think about their next season of life and how they can play a vital role in the planting of churches.
- Weekender Trips: Pile a few high school students in a van and go spend a weekend with a church planter. Ask the Church Planter to spend some time talking with your students about their passion and vision for planting, create strategic opportunities for students to engage in meaningful conversation with members (or even core team members of that plant), and have your students serve the church plant during that weekend (set up and tear down, kids ministry, first impressions, etc..). When you return, have those students get back together the following week for a meal. Begin to engage them in the discussion about how they can not only be “involved” in church planting, but specifically that church!
- College Decisions: If your student is considering going to college after high school, see if a university near a church plant (possibly even the one you took a weekender trip to go visit) has something to offer a few of your students. The idea that one of your students could chose a university not solely on their athletic programs but on the potential to serve with a local church plant…that’s a paradigm shift not only in student ministry, but in families.
- Give Us Two Years: This is what we jokingly call “The mormonization of the Church.” We challenge all of our students to give two years of their lives to the mission of God somewhere strategic. We mostly issue this challenge to graduating college students, but don’t miss the opportunity with those students in high school that want to go directly into the workplace. Want to go into banking? Why not do it in a city that is strategic with a church planter! Want to be a mechanic? Those jobs are open in almost every city! Looking at just taking a break from school and want to be a waiter/waitress? Let’s help send you to one of our strategic cities to do that!
Let’s really press our students to use their gifts for the glory of God, but let’s help them think strategically about how they will use them for the mission of God!