The second environment in our discipleship process we’re calling VAPOR. Once students have encountered Jesus, we want them to surrender to Him, moving from death to life. As Jesus said in John 5:24 “Whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me… he has crossed over from death to life.” We’re not content to just let students come on Wednesday nights (our OCEAN phase). We want them to be resuscitated by the breath of God – His Spirit. Just like He did with a lump of dirt we call Adam and a pile of bones Ezekiel saw in the desert, we want to see God blow His life into our student body.
When our students have moved from death to life, we want them to understand not only their connection to the Vine, but also how they’re grafted into the Body. We will all wither and die without remaining connected to Jesus (he’s the Vine, just in case you missed that). Our students must understand that real spiritual Life is not possible to find outside of Jesus. But adding to that connection is the way He ties together those who tie themselves to Him. If I am “in Christ” and you are “in Christ”, then we’re both “in Christ” together – regardless of how old you or I are.
Too many students grow to the point of faithful attendance at youth group activities and events, but fail to understand their connection to the rest of the Body. Graduation happens and “youth group” (to which they really were sincerely dedicated) is no more. If they have not come to see themselves as an integral part of the Body of Christ, it’s very easy for them to become discouraged and walk away.
We want to see our VAPOR students joining together with the adult Body in worship and service and fellowship. More than they need a place ON their own in the building, students need to be given a place OF their own within the Life of the congregation. When this happens, they will continue to be able to grow and connect with other believers, young and old. As they are lifted up together, they will grow together until the weight of their relationships causes them to humbly fall back to earth as RAIN – but that’s another environment/step/phase/post…