Thank you so much for serving the Lord on the campuses of Canada. What a privilege it is to be a part of a student movement seeking to change the world by helping others discover Jesus. As I travelled to various Fellowship Dinners, I enjoyed meeting a few of the 200 students who have begun a relationship with Jesus this year through our ministry. I have been encouraged to hear stories of how God is causing growth in ministry and people across the country. I hope that as you look back on this year, you can point to how God is growing you to be more like Him.
GARDENING: A METAPHOR FOR STUDENT MINISTRY
I love to garden.
Spring is a season filled with the promise of new life and hope.
The beauty of what will be is budding, preparing to burst forth. The first signs of new life are all around us. But the soil needs preparation and branches need to be pruned.
This is also a season of change for you, our students across Canada. Of endings and beginnings. You face a common question filled with anticipation and hope, “What’s next?”. For some of you this question fills you with nervous excitement and hope filled anticipation. For some the question has snuck up on you and brings a sense of surprise or anxiety. Regardless of what emotions this question evokes, an answer is required.
Thankfully for those of us who trust Jesus, we can acknowledge Him and trust He will guide our steps. We can make decisions surrendered to His Holy Spirit. Rejoice for He is near, and He brings with Him peace! (Proverbs 3:5,6, Philippians 4:4-8). I don’t know what is next for each one of you, but I do trust that as you walk with Him into this next season, the result will be beautiful.
YOU ARE BEING SENT
I am convinced that Jesus is sending you into this next season. Our God is a sending God. Jesus was sent into the world to bring us eternal life (John 3:16). He sent his Spirit to counsel, convict, comfort and empower us (John 14:26, Acts 1:8). He sends us, filled with His spirit to share His message of hope (Matthew 28:18-20). Regardless if you are going on a missions trip, into the marketplace or back the halls of campus, we are all sent ones. Sent to give witness to a world that desperately needs to hear about the new life found in Christ.
DON’T GO ALONE
I encourage you to be sent together, and not simply as an individual.
Relationships matter, and it brings you life to band together with like minded people committed to being ‘sent ones’.
You are sent…how can you live as a sent one? As you prepare for the next season, may I offer you two points of advice that I have found helpful in the lives of students as they face the summer or a new job?
Identify: What is your kingdom vision?
You have received training and ministry experience that has equipped you to live out the vision to help fulfill the Great Commission. How do you see that vision being worked out in this next season? When looking back on your summer, what do you want to have seen happen in and through you? How will you invest your time to bring the gospel to others? Take some time with the Lord and ask Him these questions. I would encourage you to write the answers down somewhere and plan to review those answers regularly.
Team up: who can you do it with?
A team rarely just happens. Whether in sports or life, building a team takes intentional thought. In this case it needs to be sought in prayer and action. Ask the Lord, who shares your Kingdom Vision, if there are people who can join you? If you can’t think of anyone, begin praying for labourers to be raised up around you (Matthew 9:35-38). Be on the lookout and be intentional about asking others to join you in fulfilling your kingdom vision.
Do it: execute a plan.
When I was a student I had a job lined up each summer working for my dad in a public garden. It was a major world wide attraction for tourists. I had responsibility to plan, plant and maintain over 40 acres of show garden.
I loved it, but I also knew I wanted to have an impact on people around me for Jesus. Certainly I believed that maintaining a garden is noble and God-honouring. It is the oldest profession in the world, the only one that preceded the fall. But in addition I wanted to be used of God to bring the gospel to others.
I planned to use my week of vacation to run an evangelistic campaign at my home church.
I recruited my little brother and a few others from the church. We called the week long campaign “Mission Possible”. Cheesy I know, but it was 1999. I hosted some workshops in my church on Sunday afternoons.I taught the people how to share the gospel clearly using a tool: Knowing God Personally.
To my surprise and encouragement more than 50 people came to those workshops. One took a step of faith and shared the booklet with her unbelieving husband. The Lord worked in his heart and and he surrendered his life to Christ. She was so encouraged that she walked down the hall and shared the Knowing God Personally booklet with her teenage son. He too came to faith in Christ. In just a few weeks they were both baptised at our church together.
Praise the Lord! That whole week we went on to share the gospel and promote our Vacation Bible School door to door to the neighborhood all around our church lAlthough I don’t remember if anything else came from it, I was amazed at how God worked in my life.
Whether you are on: a mission trip, graduating and entering the marketplace or simply working to save up the funds for next years tuition….
clarify your kingdom vision,
recruit others to join you and
execute a simple plan.