This next week we are not going to be having small groups like normal because we are challenging our students to go hang out with their “one” (more on that below) but all of our leaders are still coming to campus to be trained. I am pumped.
We are going to be having a section from me going over the big focuses across the whole ministry for the year, then each campus has a packet they will go through with their leaders (I’ll post more on that next week).
For this 2021 school year, I thought I would share a few of the big focuses of our year with you all. These things we have kind of done in the past and we have seen some pretty great response, even more so in the Covid season as we have re-opened our groups to meeting, but it’s something we are going to be focusing across the board in a more direct and intentional focus.
Andy Stanley says this about casting vision: It’s gotta be simple, it’s gotta be portable, it’s gotta be repeatable.
So we wanted to just hit on 4 things this year to keep it simple and understandable but if we do it well… effective.
Who is your one? – This has been a part of my ministry philosophy for years now. In a nutshell, every believer should have one friend or acquaintance, who they know doesn’t know Jesus and begin to invest in their life. They are not a project, but they already have a relationship with them and they can begin praying for them, asking them how they can pray for them, asking faith based questions, inviting them to church or to attend small group with them. Evangelism could be a scary word, but focusing on one student, who is already a friend, for the year is WAY more doable. We have seen over 500 first time students in 2019, many of them stuck around and joined groups. We are going to keep moving forward with that.
1st Wednesday’s – It’s pretty self explanatory. The first Wednesday of every month we do something a little bit extra to create an environment for students to invite their “one”. The rest of the month is small groups focused but this is to be a night where students invite their “one” in hopes they can come and see what groups is all about and there is usually something before or after the service for hang out and community to happen.
With both of these things part of the training and challenge to our leaders
That because we have seen this work in our ministry, we are going to be seeing students who don’t know how to church. Meaning, they dont know how to act, talk, be at a place like this and they might be “rough around the edges” and THAT IS WHAT WE WANT.
The other 166 – There are 168 hours in a week and 2 of those hours are on campus for our small groups. In our culture right now, it’s really easy to go to church, check the box and say you are a follower of Jesus. We are calling you and our students above and beyond that. Part of what we have going on in our ministry right now is being real. When we share our lives with our students, the conversations that happen because of that, the Holy Spirit uses in ways we will never fully understand. Some of the most spiritual conversations you will ever have with your students is not going to be on a Wednesday night in groups but in the in between time of the week. It’s the coffee dates. The lunches. The after school calls and texts.
Because in groups it’s structured and sometimes guards are up because they come to us. When we go to them, we go into their world, walls are not up. Lots of great conversations can happen. If you notice when Jesus is walking around teaching he always invites himself over to people’s homes and it says he is LOUNGING around a table with food. I love this. Be like Jesus. Invite your students into your daily life outside of Wednesday nights and tell me that the best spiritual conversations don’t happen.
Embracing hybrid/online groups – COVID changed the world forever. There are something that are never going to happen again. There are going to be things done which were never done before. Since we have gone to online, every week we have had students join us for the first time via our services, joined into a small group digitally and then they came to campuses to be a part of what God is doing here. We are looking for this to be the standard moving forward.
We are going all in the digital ministry section.
What does this mean? 2 things…First, We want you to challenge students to send links of our online experience to their one, or friends from school. It used to be the only way a non-churched student would be able to experience service and groups is if they came to one of our locations. Thats it. Students have the opportunity to check out what we are all about from home. They can be curious from afar online.
One click of a link change someone’s eternity.
And second, hybrid small groups are here to stay. Its the groups where you have people on campus and then have a few joining online. We have seen that this can work and we want to continue to make it better.
Imagine if your students were to invite a friend to be a fly on the wall of the types of conversations we have in groups. I believe that in a world that is marketing to our youth so much, to experience some REAL conversation about tough topics and things of faith is something they will want to be a part of. It could change everything.
We want to continue to challenge students to invite others who might never step foot in a church but they would click a link to maybe take their first step into faith.
So there you have it. Our 4 big things in which our ministry is focusing on this year. We are excited with anticipation for what God is going to be doing in the lives of students and I’m even more excited to see what God is going to be doing through our leaders who will be carrying out these focuses.