Mission – EVERY student reflecting Jesus to their WORLD
At Christ Chapel, we’ve defined our values or “Core Four” as Jesus, Community, Growth, and Mission. These are the essentials that become our target for Spiritual growth in our students. We want every student taking the next step in each of these areas so they can experience a fuller understanding of Jesus and His calling as disciples.
When it comes to MISSION a key verse comes to mind.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere–in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NLT)
For me this verse becomes a way that we can understand unlocking mission in our three student ministry contexts: Fifth+Sixth (Preteen), Middle School (early adolescence) and High School (late adolescence). By building a progression into our ministry, we can help students develop a mission’s mindset in age appropriate ways.
Every Preteen needs a “Jerusalem”
To the disciples, Jerusalem meant their backyard. Jesus was challenging his followers to start making a difference where they live. In some sense, this is hardest for our students because they know people in their own hometown. There is a risk of looking different or being left out because they’re representing Christ in their schools and neighborhoods. It’s also hard because there’s no escape. You have nowhere to hide.
We start with Jerusalem because we need to know that mission isn’t an activity it’s a lifestyle. It happens in everyday ordinary situations like at lunch or on the ball field. The path to mission mindedness starts with understanding the call to “take up our cross daily” (Luke 9:23).
Ideas to activate mission in preteens:
- Help students define their mission field as their neighborhood, along with the names of people who live in their neighborhood.
- Have them brainstorm a “neighborhood needs” list with their parents and look for ways to meet those needs.
- Challenge them to invite one friend to church who doesn’t normally come to church.
Every Middle Schooler needs a “Judea”
When Jesus mentions Judea/Samaria, he’s expanding the disciple’s vision. In Judea/Samaria, the cities aren’t as familiar and the customs are different. Now, not only are they called to serve those they are familiar with, but God is asking them to serve those who are different and somewhat strange. This takes a different kind of risk.
For middle schoolers, it’s crucial that they learn to live outside what’s comfortable for them. Life on mission means that our eyes are open to the expanding world around us. Reaching out to their Judea will cause a middle schooler to have increased dependance on Jesus as get out of their comfort zone. Going to a Judea is about expanding one’s faith and trust in God.
Ideas to activate mission:
- Challenge students to take a risk by reaching out to someone who is different than them.
- As a small group, work with a local church ministry partner for a service day.
- Make “blessing bags” that they can give to homeless or needy people that they see around town (agapebags.org).
Every High Schooler needs to go to the “Ends of the Earth”
Lastly, Jesus sends his disciples to the ends of the earth. The challenge is to move from the unfamiliar to the foreign. Now they are brought to the outer limits of their abilities and must fully rely on God for strength. Going to the ends of the earth expands their view of God’s power.
High schoolers need to see a global God who is much bigger than their finite existence. Unlocking a mission mindset means that they accept their place in God’s world instead of trying to fit God into theirs. Only until they go to the ends of the earth will they see how life-giving it is to surrender their lives to God’s global mission.
Ideas to activate mission:
- Challenge students to sign up for a overseas mission trip or possibly a gap year doing missions work after high school.
- Watch a movie together that has a missions emphasis and talk about what part they can play in global missions.
- Find a way as a small group to partner with a foreign missionary or agency.
- As a group start praying for a particular country that God would expand his work in that part of the world.
We were made for mission…God’s mission. Until our students jump into that mission, they’ll be missing out on a key component of growing with God.