A few years ago, I attended a missions conference hosted by our church. I have been to many missions conferences over my years in church, but this one seemed to be unlike any other. I have even been to a lot of good mission conferences, but this one seemed to spark action and thought in my heart. It got me thinking about what I want to be known for, and what I would love for our student ministry to be known for. I want to share a few things that I came up.
1. Be known for the Gospel—I want the Gospel to be at the center of everything we do. Since Jesus is at the center of the Gospel, this would make Jesus at the center of our lives. When people look at our ministry, I want them to see the Gospel in what we do. It should be breathed out of our budget, our relationships, our services and our calendar of events. If we are not careful, our event calendar can scream INTERNAL, when we should be becoming EXTERNAL! Our inward life of growing in the Gospel should compel us to be outward with the Gospel to others.
2. Be known for discipleship—Proper evangelism (as mentioned in the first point) will be an outflow of effective discipleship. If someone is effectively discipled, they will share their faith with others, because that is an outflow of discipleship. Be intentional about this. Choose your leaders based on this. Also, you as the leader need to model this. Be discipled yourself. It is impossible to disciple others without being discipled yourself.
3. Be known for loving the needy—At our missions conference, the speaker told me that our church consists of mainly white middle class people. I began to think: Yes, that is accurate. So, does that mean our city (which we are called to reach) consists of only white middle class people? Of course not! Always remember that your church should reflect the community in which it lives. Be involved in meeting the needs of the needy. Look for ways to serve and use your resources. Get your church and student ministry involved in meeting the needs of the community.
4. Be known for love—Jesus says that love is the greatest thing. In fact, God is love. It is in His character, and at the core of who Jesus Christ is. Love should drive you as the leader. The reason you do what you do should be out of a love for God. Out of that love for God comes a love for others. Be known for your love. Do not be ugly to others, but try to resolve conflict in a loving way in your church, and overwhelm guests in a loving fashion. Love people you are supposed to hate. Love people who are unlovable. Love the ones who are (in the world’s standards) your enemies. Bottom line: Love people! Love ALL people.
5. Be known for community—A community is a group of people coming together. The church should be this. We should enjoy the company of one another. You need to be in a small group or a Bible fellowship class of some kind. We must pray for one another. We must encourage one another. The church should not be a place where we bicker and fight, but rather a place where we encourage and love. Anyone should be welcomed to come into our community regardless of anything.