Missions Discipleship: Practical Ways to Help Students Engage in God’s Work

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What’s the difference between missions discipleship and wholistic discipleship? Nothing.

When we set out to disciple students, missions and making Jesus known are at the heart of it all. Missions, serving and being active in ministry are all basic expectations of a healthy growing Christ-follower.

Therefore local, regional and foreign missions should never be treated as extracurricular activities for a believer.

Here are three steps that helped us to equip our students to keep missions as part of our mainframe:

1. Teach scripture

Novel idea, right? You’d be surprised how much pushback there can be when the Bible is purely taught and obeyed. Students tend to have a “selfie” mentality, and this flies in the face of Scripture where we are taught to value others more than ourselves or consider others better than ourselves (Phil. 2:3).

Why are we so blessed to live where we do and have all that we have? That old expression is true: “We are blessed to be a blessing.” This is rooted in Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 9:11.

I would say teens struggle with this, but let’s face it: Many of us struggle with being generous for the glory of God.

It’s critical that we teach and demonstrate to our students that the reason we have so many resources is to make God known. God has done this for His people since He called Israel to be His people.

Just take a look at the book of Ezekiel and see why God does what He does. Over and over again He says, “Then they will know that I am God.”

Christ followers get to be part of this as ministers in the ministry of reconciliation, 2 Corinthians 5:11-21.

Help students understand that Jesus labels us things such as “light of the world” and “a city on hill,” because we are supposed to draw attention to God. This life is not about us. It’s all about God!

If this is your foundation for discipling students, then missions makes perfect sense.

2. Give them tangible ways to serve.

In response to Jesus’ words in Acts 1:8 to be His witnesses locally, regionally and internationally, be sure to give students opportunities to hear about what God is doing in all these areas.

Then facilitate their involvement in each. Consider rotating summer mission trips and quarterly activities with this in mind. Here are some practical suggestions (that actually work!):

* Locally: Who in the church needs a helping hand? Ask church staff or deacons if there are senior adults who need help around their houses. Are there any local ministries who need their clothes closet organized or need help serving food in the shelter?

* Regionally: Are there any foster groups, Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries facilities or other ministry organizations that could use assistance?

Find a Christian-based clinic or school that helps underprivileged families. Do a fundraiser to benefit these ministries or take up supplies for them. Then go as a group to deliver the supplies and ask a director to tell the students a few stories about the ministry.

* Globally: Feature international missions, ministries and projects. Tell the stories of how the projects started and who is involved. Let the missionary tell their own story via Skype, video or in person. Take up funds for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. Set a goal and use visuals to keep them updated on the progress. Celebrate when they reach their goal.

All these things being part of a healthy student ministry makes serving and missions normal parts of being a Christian.

3. Celebrate Missions.

When students participate in any of these things, be sure to take dynamic pics that tell the stories. Then use those pics to celebrate what God is doing.

Posting them on social media is fine, but be sure to display some around the student area (and maybe other places in the church).

What we display reveals what we celebrate, and what we celebrate reveals what we truly value.
If your student area is full of pics of students playing games then we know what your ministry values the most.

But if we see pics of students serving, building ramps, serving food, teaching VBS in a foreign culture, then we know you’re doing more than just entertaining kids.

Also, have students give testimony about how their involvement in missions has changed them.  Again this kind of “air time” continues to normalize the missions experience.

Make Christ and His word the true foundation of all you do in discipling students, and watch what the Lord does in the life of your teens. Help them understand that they’re called to serve in their own schools as well as around the world to make Jesus known.

Missions Discipleship: Practical Ways to Help Students Engage in God’s Work was first posted on Alabama Men.

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