Be On The Lookout

John Moores and I are excited to announce that in the next couple weeks we will be going live with our own, individual blogs:

  • mikesuit.com will place a heavy emphasis on everything missional in the student ministry world – shifts, transitions, launching, trials and errors, etc.  It will be geared towards those looking to make missional shifts within their student ministry.
  • yourlifeisyourmission.com will be John’s home for his blog.  John’s blog will be combining all his years of ministry and wisdom into one place for you to utilize and ask questions.

Be on the lookout for the official launching of these new blogs!  Looking forward to continuing our conversations!  In the meantime feel free to connect with us on twitter: Mike Suit & John Moores

Multiplying Student Missional Communities: Discipleship Pursuit

The Great Commission doesn’t have an age attached to it.”

Gina Mueller

I read this quote from our friendmultiplying mcs real Gina Mueller on a guest blog post she wrote recently.  I love it for a number of reasons, but the main reason is that it addresses the need to help equip the next generation to live their lives as their mission.  This quote is a game-changer in the way we think about how we are using the few years we have with students.  It causes me assess whether or not I’m using the time I have (and my leaders have) with students to help them run with their passions that God has given them to be disciples that make disciples amongst other students – to commission them, right here, right now!

The reason we do Missional Communities (GoCommunities is our church language for MCs) for high school students is because we want to raise up a generation of students that tangibly knows what it looks like to disciple those around them through intentional community.  And this is why we look to multiply our Missional Communities.

                                                             

The last few posts have talked about our process of multiplying Missional Communities and this is the final post in this 4 part series – the Pursuit step of multiplication.  Feel free to read the posts on Passion, Prayer, and People.

At this point in the multiplication process the students that we are commissioning are clear on their passion, the people they feel called to, and the vision that God has given them.  The step of Pursuit is the commissioning of students to actually pursue what God is calling them to.  This is when the practicals, details, and rhythms get flushed out; while at the same time, making sure that the students you are commissioning keep God at the core and the people they are called to are the focus.

Here’s some of the practicals in the Pursuit step:

  • Mission/Vision – it’s important for each MC that we are multiplying out to have a specific Mission/Vision.  This is one of the practicals that each MC needs to have.  It helps students tell others what their MC is about in a short and sweet way, as well as, help them keep focused on why they are doing what they are doing.  Read Alex Absalom’s post on Mission/Vision here.
  • Rhythm – it’s crucial for each MC to have a rhythm.  One way for each MC to have a rhythm is to figure out what Come, Thrive, GO looks like for them.  Part of this CTG rhythm deals with what the structure of their time together will look like. The other part is the rhythm of when they will gather together, which includes location, days, times, etc.
  • Person of Peace – another part of the Pursuit step is for them to continue to develop their relationship with their PoP and the inclusion of them in the MC.

This is a fun process to be a part of as we get to commission students to go out and live their lives as their mission, in order to be disciples that make disciples.  This process of Passion, Prayer, People, and Pursuit is a journey of  celebration because we know that when the students get to the Pursuit step we are commissioning them to share their lives and Jesus with other students that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to impact!  We get to help students live out the Great Commission and be missionaries right where they are at.

If you have thoughts or questions about what it looks like to multiply Missional Communities we would love to talk with you about it.  There are probably some questions that have come up throughout these series of posts that we didn’t get address on here.  Feel free to comment on here, email, or contact us via social media.

Multiplying Student Missional Communities: What It’s All About

“Whenever you enter someone’s home, first say, ‘May God’s peace be on this house.’ If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you.  Don’t move around from home to home.  Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide.  Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay.  If you enter a town and it welcomes you, eat whatever is set before you.  Heal the sick, and tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is near  you now.'”

Luke 10:5-9

It’s all about people.  In Luke 10, when Jesusmultiplying MCs pEOPLE is sending the 72 disciples out, he is sending them to people.  The end goal of sending the disciples is to make more disciples – not to start a church program, or missional community, or new church.  Here’s the instructions he gives them:

  • Enter someone’s home
  • Don’t move around/stay in one home
  • Eating and drinking
  • Accepting hospitality
  • Heal the sick
  • Tell them the Kingdom of God is near

What’s the common denominator in each of the things that Jesus tells the disciples to do? People.  Each of the things that Jesus tells them to do involves being with people, relationships with people, serving people, sharing meals with people, consistency in relationships with people, telling them about Jesus.  It’s all about people.

This is important to remind your students and leaders as they get ready to multiply: it’s not about the Missional Community, it’s about the people God has put on their heart – to share life and the Gospel with them (1 Thess. 2:8).  The Missional Community is simply an effective vehicle that allows discipleship and mission to occur within a community context.

With that in mind, during the students’ process of prayer there will be friends and people that come to mind.  Ask them questions about the people that came to mind during their time of prayer.  Here’s a couple basic, but direct questions to ask:

  1. During your time of prayer, did specific friends or people at your school come to mind?
  2. Why did these people come to mind?

This will give insight into where their heart is, at the same time, reaffirm their passion.  Here’s how this would play out: if the students you are commissioning to multiply are on the high school basketball team and their passion is basketball, then the people that would come to mind during their step of prayer would be several of their friends on the basketball team.  It plays out like this because the people they are around most of the time and the people they care for are their friends that are on the same team and share the same passions as them.  So, when you ask them the question ‘why did these people come to mind?’ its becomes a question that is reaffirming to whom God is calling them to.

The next step in the People process, after they have identified the people that God has given them a heart for, is to help them see where they have favor among those people.  This is referred to as their Person of Peace.  Their Person of Peace will serve as a gatekeeper to help them reach those people that God has given them a heart for. Here is a great post from Alex Absalom on the Person of Peace.

The People step in the multiplication process is a fun and exciting step (I think all the steps are fun and exciting, though).  This step opens the doorway to the Person of Peace and gives birth to the Mission/Vision of the Missional Community (we will talk about this on the next post).  The multiplication process becomes real and tangible with this step.  However, the most important role that it plays is the reminder that it is all about People.  This step allows your students to focus on what the Missional Community is all about – disciples that make disciples.

Multiplying Student Missional Communities: The Power of Prayer

“Prayer is not asking.  Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.”

– Mother Teresa –

I love this quote by Mother Teresa.  It’s really a quote about the humility andmultiplying MCs prayer obedience of prayer.  Prayer is about putting our trust fully in God, setting down our desires to live for His, and being obedient to the things that He is speaking in our lives.  This humility and obedience before God is exactly where we want our students to be.  It’s out of this humility and obedience that students begin to realize that their mission is God’s and not theirs.  They begin to realize that they need a trust in God’s Spirit for their mission.

There are two questions that a disciple of Jesus asks: What’s God saying to me?  What am I going to do about it?

The focus question for this step in the multiplication process is the former: What’s God saying to me?  God speaks to us and reveals Himself to us in many different ways.  One of the ways that God speaks to us is when we come to Him in prayer.  As leaders, we need to allow space and TIME for students to wrestle with what it is God is saying to them.

Once we have helped students identify their passions we begin to encourage students with this question: What’s God saying to you about how you can use your passion to live your life as your mission?  It is essential for us to let students fully seek God out on this.  Yes, we provide some guidance and insight at various points.  Ultimately, it’s healthier for students in the long run to be on their knees, in God’s presence, wrestling and discerning the things He is leading them to.  The more dependent they become on God and the more they humble themselves before Him, the more they will learn to operate out of a posture of servanthood, humility, and Spirit-promptedness as they lead others.

The step of prayer is, in many ways, the gateway to the path that God is leading students down.  It’s in seeking God’s will that students begin to obtain their sense of purpose and direction.  This is a crucial step, and like I said before, as leaders we need to allow space for students to wrestle and wait for God.  Seeing students come out of this step with that purpose, direction, and vision is a beautiful things to be a part of.  This is the power of prayer.

Multiplying Student Missional Communities: It Starts with Passion

In our last post, How to Multiply Missional Communities, we talked about the 4 steps we use for multiplying Missional Communities.  The 4multiplying MCs passion steps include: Passion, Prayer, People, and Pursuit.  In the upcoming posts we will break down each of these steps, how we came to them and some practicals that go along with them.

Passion

The leading question behind Passion is simply, ‘What passions has God given you?’  

Here’s why we ask students the questions of passion:

  • Life-giving. Questions of passion often get at the core of what makes us feel alive.  When someone is telling you what they are passionate about their eyes light up with joy and life.  Often times, they can talk to you forever about their passions.
  • God-given. The things we are passionate about are God-given.  They are wired deep within us.
  • Calling. What we are passionate about are the very things that we will give ALL of ourselves to – whether it’s a cause, a neighborhood, athletics, the arts, cooking, etc. We feel a strong call to our passions.
  • Endurance. If we are passionate about something we won’t give up on it, even during the tough times.

If you are going to help a student be missional, then it only makes sense to release them to be missional in a network or neighborhood that they are passionate about.  This is why it’s important to have the initial conversation be about passion – it sets the table for the rest of the multiplying process.

Our leaders and myself are constantly asking students what they are passionate about.  What has God put on your heart?  What makes you feel alive?  What energizes you?  If you could do one thing for an entire day, what would it be?  These questions help develop and bring to light what the Holy Spirit is already stirring within students!

How to Multiply Student Missional Communities

We have multiplied our first student missionalmultiplying mcs real community!  Throughout the multiplication process, there has been fresh vision and clarity on what it looks like to multiply missional communities.  We simply want to share this process with all of you.

I would say that there are 4 practicals steps that were brought to light for us when it came to multiplying out our first GoCo – Passion. Prayer. People. Pursuit.  Let’s break these down:

Passion – we all have specific passions and gifts that God has given us.  I fully believe that God has given us these passions and gifts for a specific purpose – to use them to impact those around us and bring honor to God.  Because of this, we feel called as leaders to help students and other leaders realize these passions and gifts.  We do this in a manner that challenges and encourages them to put feet on their passions and gifts so they can use them to impact the Kingdom.

Prayer – part of the challenge and encouragement after their passions and gifts are realized is to allow space for them in prayer to wait for what God is calling them to do with their passions and gifts.  This is essential.  As a leader, the natural tendency is to come up with the structures and ideas that people can fit their dreams into.  At the end of the day, that really doesn’t have anything to do with God.  But when you allow them to come before God and seek God’s vision then it’s putting them in a position where they are dependent on God to lead them.  This will hopefully set the pace for how they will live out and form community around their passions and gifts.  There will definitely be moments where your experience will be necessary to simply provide some guidance and direction, but let those you are releasing wrestle and discern what God is saying to them.

People – the thing that the process of prayer does is that it brings certain people to mind.  As they are praying through what it is that God is calling them to, there are always people in their lives that come to mind.  For example, as Wyatt and Paul were praying about what Song & Story (this was before they had the name) looked like, there were specific friends of theirs that had similar interests and passions as them, but didn’t have a relationship with Christ that kept coming to mind.  More than likely, the people that come up in prayer are the people that God is calling you to.  These specific people help to establish the Mission/Vision of what your missional community will be.

Pursuit – part of the pursuit includes the tangibles of the missional community: meeting location, times, days, rhythm, gathering structures, etc.  The other part, the main part, the purpose of the missional community, is the pursuit of people.  Pursue the people that God has placed on your heart.  Pursue the people that have similar passions and gifts and include them in the community.  What this looks like for Wyatt and Paul is to go to various open mic nights around the area, to go to local concerts, and intentionally ask people they encounter to come hang at Song & Story.  You must GO and pursue people.  If the missional community is about having another missional community notch on your belt, then you’ve completely missed the mission.

If you have any other suggestions or things that you do when starting missional communities we would love to hear about it!  We will be doing a series of posts in the upcoming weeks that will break down Passion. Prayer. People. Pursuit.

Behind the Music: Song & Story

Our first multiplied student GoCommunity (Missional Community)photo-1 is called Song & Story.  It is driven by the vision that God placed on two student’s hearts.  Wyatt Zelle and Paul Clifford are both going to be seniors this upcoming school year.  They have each been a part of a GoCo and our ministry for years now.  I am not exaggerating when I say it has been a true honor and blessing to be a part of their lives as I have watched how God has worked both in and through them over the years.

About Wyatt and Paul:

One of the best things about watching them mature over the years has been seeing how they have used their passions and gifts that God has given them to bring Honor to Him.  They are both very talented musicians and that talent can be seen on display with their band, Good Hours.  This isn’t just your normal, local high school rock band.  Good Hours won Canton’s local Battle of the Bands competition, as well as the Alive Festival’s Indie Artist Showcase contest.  In a nutshell, these guys are legitimate!  Despite their band’sphoto recent success and the local celebrity status they are gaining, they consistently remain humble.  This heart of humility they carry definitely stems from their desire to use their influence with the band as a way to point people towards Christ.  The fact that these two high school students view their band and their talents as their mission is inspiring to me!  I love how God is using these guys and how they are letting God use them.

The Backstory:

This last winter I sat down with Wyatt and Paul and we began talking about passions.  As we talked about passions, without pausing, the conversation went right into God, music, and friends.  The conversation eventually got to the point where we were talking about what it looks like to intentionally blend all of those passions together.  We talked and brainstormed a little while longer before I asked them to sit on this for and pray about it – to see what God might reveal to them.

After a few weeks of prayer and more conversation, God began to reveal the vision for what would later be called Song & Story.  The vision, ultimately, was to create an intentional community where musicians, artists, and poets can come together to share their artistic creations, while receiving encouragement and prayer if needed.  The foundational idea was laid and it was great to see these guys rely on the Spirit to direct them in this.

From there we began to ask the Spirit to give them more clear direction for details such as: the name and mission/vision. who would this community be for? what would the rhythm of gathering look like? what would the evening structure look like? where they were going to meet? which other students were they going to actively pursue?  And so on and so forth.  Another prayer of ours was for God to bring a couple adults that understand this creative/artistic culture to come alongside Wyatt and Paul to invest in them and help provide some more structure to this.

As God began to flush all of this out for us and provide the things we needed it became more and more clear that the idea of Song & Story was exactly what God had for Wyatt and Paul.

Getting the ball rolling:

Now that they felt like they had clear vision for Song & Story, plus a couple adults to come alongside them, they were ready to move forward with this and make this happen.

Some of the practicals of making this happen was to set a date, time, and location for a soft launch.  On top of that it was important for them to pursue the other students that God had placed on their hearts that they thought would be good to be a part of this.  The final step was to spread the word – social media, texts, calls, posters at local coffee shops, etc.  These guys made it happen, with the Spirit leading them.  They had their soft launch last month and this week is their first official launch where the students that come will be sharing their works of art.

I am so excited to see what God is going to do through these guys and the lives that will be changed, due in part, of Wyatt and Paul’s faithfulness and boldness to listen to what God was saying to them and then to follow through on it.  These guys are disciples that make disciples.

Song & Story

Tagline – Everyone’s Song has a Story.  Everyone’s Story has a Song

Mission/Vision – “Song & Story is a community where students can share their creative passions and be encouraged in their artistic growth.”

Rhythm – Formal gatherings once a month.  Their rhythm also includes going to local coffee shops and venues to play open mic nights as a community.

Nightly Structure – Students will gather at Wyatt’s house where they will start by hanging out and watch some live music videos that will be playing in the background.  Typically, they will share a meal together.  After the meal they will gather in the basement or outside (depending on the weather) where they will sit in a circle and begin sharing their artistic creations with each other.  If the students want to they will start by sharing the story of where their work of art comes from and then perform it for everyone in the community.

Our next post will include the practical steps that God has revealed to us through this process for multiplying GoCommunities, which will be followed by a series of posts detailing each of those steps.  We would love feedback, thoughts, ideas, and questions!  If you have any more questions about Song & Story feel free to contact myself or John Moores – we realize we gave the nutshell version of the story.  In the meantime, we ask that you continue to pray for Wyatt, Paul and everyone that will be a part of the Song & Story community.