Nov 09, 2015
Equip Students to Launch Missional Communities
Mike Suit writes about how the high school ministry of RiverTree Church discovered how to equip college students to lead missional communities.
I tell students all the time that I don’t think they’re just the next generation, but the NOW generation. Yes, Jesus has plans and a purpose for them in the future, but He also has plans and a purpose for them right here, right now. Jesus wants to use students to impact their communities, their school, their teams, their clubs, and their friends. And His plan isn’t for them to wait, but to live out the Great Commission right here, right now. In other words, Jesus wants to see students live their lives as their mission.
Now, I’m pretty sure that just about every youth pastor in the world would say that they believe this generation of students can be disciple-makers, that they can live out the Great Commission as faithful followers of Jesus. On top of that, they would also say they not only believe in students, but they encourage their students to live out their faith in their communities, their schools, and with their friends. This is all good and well.
However, there is one important question in all of this: what vehicle (structure) are you using to give students the opportunity to be disciple-makers and live their lives as their mission? This is an important question because you can say things like, “You are the church, be the church,” and “go and make disciples,” and “live your life as your mission,” and “serve your friends in Jesus’ name,” all day long. But, if you don’t have a vehicle built into your ministry that allows students to actually do those things, then your words will eventually get old, lose their meaning, and cause confusion. Allow me to mention that I am not talking about the one week mission trip during the summer, either. I’m talking about a vehicle built within your ministry that allows students to be on mission on a regular basis; that allows for rhythm and consistency in mission. It’s imperative that your vehicles and structures allow your mission and vision to become reality.
For us, our vision is for students to be disciples that make disciples. It’s not an uncommon vision by any means, but we take it very seriously. And within that vision, much prayer, thought, meetings, prayer, conversations, and prayer, have gone into developing a vehicle that would allow that vision to become a reality in our context. Through that process we felt like that vehicle that God was leading us to develop for students was Missional Communities. Missional Communities are mid-sized communities (15-30), bigger than small groups (8-12), that effectively allow both community and discipleship to take place.
As we’ve continued down this journey of giving students opportunities to be disciples that make disciples through the vehicle of Missional Communities as the foundation, we have seen students step into God’s mission for them right here, and right now. They are beginning to use their God-given passion and gifts to live their lives as their mission in community, as they impact their friends, their schools, their neighborhoods, and their communities.
As a result of giving students an opportunity to live their lives as their mission and be disciples that make disciples, we are seeing this desire within students to continue living as missionaries on their college campuses after high school. The missional life is starting is becoming part of their DNA as disciples of Jesus. There’s this heart to be disciple makers of Jesus that we are observing in many of our college students, as they are looking to be intentional in their relationships and start Missional Communities on their campuses.
This is where LEAD U comes into play…
In June we launched what we are calling, LEAD U. LEAD U is a two month, 8 week, journey to give college students some further training and equipping in launching Missional Communities on their campuses. This was an invite-only experience for specific students that have gone through our student ministry and were actively living their lives as their mission on their campuses. The goal is by the end of the 8 weeks they will have a Fall semester plan in place that will be the foundation of getting their Missional Community ready for the Spring semester. While they’re at school they will participate in a bi-weekly huddle via web-based hangouts with me for ongoing training and encouragement.
The thing that really excites me is seeing high school students experience God’s rest and movement in such powerful ways as they live missionally as disciples that make disciples, that they can’t help but continue living that way in college. I’m really looking forward to seeing how God moves in and through these students as they are sent as missionaries to universities covering multiple states.
If you’re curious about finding out more details concerning LEAD U please check out my series of posts on my blog: