“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” John 1:14
Jesus entered our world. He moved into the neighborhood. He became one of us so that we could understand Him and be connected to Him. He did not expect us to come to Him, He saw our need, He made the first move and met us where we were at. It is an amazing idea isn’t it? God became one of us so that we could be rescued and have a picture of how to live with Him.
We enter student’s world. If we want to be effective in the lives of teenagers then we need to go to them. We have to figure out how to “move into the neighborhood”. It is foolishness to expect middle school and high school students to come to us. Jesus left heaven and came to earth. We must leave our church buildings and go to where students are at.
Distinguishing Relational and Incarnational Ministry. I’d like to point out one critical difference between relational and incarnational ministry. It is critical that we understand this if we are going to move forward in missional student ministry.
I’ve noticed that in student ministry circles we spend a lot of time discussing relational ministry. We all know that the foundation of what we do is relationships between adults and students. Adults who know and follow Jesus pour into the lives of students and the conduit for this is the relationship they have. This seems to be commonly accepted and embraced. What I’ve also noticed is that the students we hang out with are the ones that come to us. We do not enter their world. They come to church, we meet them on our turf and then we hang out with them. While this is relational ministry it is not incarnational. Incarnational involves us leaving our church world and entering the world of teenagers. This is something we have lost sight of and need to regain.
How Can we do this? In the conversations I have with folks the general consensus is that most are not seeking to be incarnational and most do not know how. We struggle with knowing where to start. Therefore over the next week or so we will lay out three different ways to begin to be incarnational.
- Fishing for Students
- Impacting the School
- Shot Gun Ministry
Until then I would encourage you to seek Jesus out, thank Him for moving into the neighborhood and ask Him to show you how to be like Him and do the same thing.