As we seek to reveal God to students, it is our prayer that He will move in their lives. We don’t want to develop a bunch of kids that are loyal to me or to Wind & Water, who faithfully attend every youth event or activity. We want to develop disciples who are wholeheartedly loyal to Jesus and who see the very “living of life” as an act of worship.
In the beginning, “the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters”. After thousands of years of shifting tectonic plates and freezing and heating land masses, much of the world is still underwater. Most of the world’s surface water (about 97% according to Wikipedia) is found in the oceans. As it is blown by the wind and heated by the sun, water is released into the atmosphere as water VAPOR (which is our second environment in the discipleship process, but that will wait for another post).
The OCEAN is where we’ll begin our process of discipleship – metaphorically speaking of course!
Most people do more dying than actually living. Without being caught up in the mission of God to redeem His missing people, we’re only getting closer to our death one day at a time – that’s not really living. We want to see students touched by the Son and moved from death to life. “Bringing Students to Life” is much more than a slogan we’ll throw around. We literally want to see students who are just kind of floating through the currents come to life.
The problem we have is that we are powerless to revive dead souls on our own. (sidenote: It’s odd to think of a young soul as a dead one, but I don’t think I could do what I do if I didn’t think that way.) My greatest ideas and programs, the greatest efforts of our ministry team cannot transform lives in ways that are eternally consequential. We may do some momentary good, but it won’t be an everlasting difference that we make. Only God has the power to breathe life into the lifeless – and He does so through Jesus. Our job then, in the OCEAN environment, is to bring students to the one who can revive them. To “bring students to life” we bring them into contact with Jesus. We help them meet Him (don’t ever make the mistake of thinking they already have).
Initially we are praying for students. Taking them to God in prayer and calling them to His attention. I know, I know, God knows what’s going on in the world today, and He sees these students – would He really need us to remind Him of their situations? He may not need the synaptic jolt, but we do. We have to be consistently praying for the next generation.
We don’t want to just send them on their way with a pat on the head and a “Good luck, I’ll be praying for you…” though. We also need to be designing encounters with Jesus. Our Wednesday night activity/event/program is where this will be our primary focus. When a student comes, they will encounter Him – in the message, the music, and the interaction with other students and adults. Our students who’ve been around for a while, and should be progressing as disciples, will know that their responsibility on Wednesday nights is to “be Jesus with skin on” for new students. (Don’t know where it started, but I heard it from Tory, so thanks for the phrase Tory.) When a new student comes, they should encounter Jesus. If they don’t, we’re failing.
Our prayer then is not that we have a lot of kids come, but that those who do come would be changed by being brought into contact with the Son – that they will be spiritually resuscitated, moving from death to life. Which takes us into the VAPOR environment, but you’ll just have to wait a bit for that explanation…