In the last couple posts we have discussed the importance of mission and vision within missional student ministry, as well as, the importance of gaining your mission from a passion closely connected with what God is calling you to do. And as you discern your mission and vision for the student ministry it is important, especially in a missional student ministry, to lead your students on their own mission.
It’s amazing, but not surprising, that in the last three weeks I have had four different conversations with students (not all of whom are connected with our ministry) that flat out told me they are bored. How can they possibly be bored???? They have a PS3, they have a smartphone, their families are well off, there’s a Starbucks down the road, they have flatscreen TV’s with plenty of channels to select from, they have tons of friends – not including all the extra “friends” on Facebook, they have access to anything and everything via technology. Bored?
The more I thought about it, the more I realized each of those things that are supposed to keep them from getting bored (PS3, smartphones, TV, etc.) lack something. They lack purpose. They lack substance. They lack mission.
I don’t think it’s any secret that each of us, as humans, want, and even need, purpose in our life. We want our life to matter and count for something. We need purpose. We need substance behind what we do. We need mission.
I think because students are students we (culturally) often times don’t expect a lot out of them and they are aware that not a lot is expected out of them. This bores them. This robs them of the mission that God calls them to.
As leaders and disciple-makers (Matthew 28:19), it is important for us to help students discover their mission right where they are at in life. We need to equip them, encourage them, and challenge them in their mission. And for most students, their mission is to those that are around them in life – those students at their school, in band, in a sport they play, at the locker next to them, sitting next to them in class. This is their missional context.
One of the things we do to help students in this is that we frequently ask students in both NRG (our middle school ministry) and high school GoCos (missional communities), to write down 2-3 students that they are consistently praying for in their school. In smaller group discussions, we often will ask them how they are practically loving and serving those students, and then we hold them to an account for it. It’s a fine balance of encouragement (letting them know they can do this and are called to do this) and challenge (checking in to make sure they are actually doing it). And this is just one of many options that you can do (and that we have done) to help students in their mission
So I think it’s important that we let students know that God has called them. That God has a purpose for them. That God gives them a mission. And they don’t have to wait until they are out of college, married, have a job, and three kids before their life purpose begins. This mission is not impossible.