I have a re-occurring dream about student ministry, but it's not identical everytime. Let me explain. I'm not talking about a dream I have while I'm asleep. I'm talking about a dream like what Martin Luther King, jr. had ("I have a dream..."). The kind of dream I have is one of a near future where things are different than they are in my present reality. So to tell you about the dream, I need to start by defining my present reality.
It has been two and a half years since I came to Ridgecrest. At that time, we continued some of the existing programs (Sunday morning Bible Study, Wednesday night service, D-Team), while only beginning a few "new" things (mission trip training, overseas missions, annual parent party, BASH w/ After Party, MIX events). All-in-all, we didn't change too much. It was, for the most part, a very smooth transition.
Since then, we've seen God do some pretty amazing stuff (for example, in 2008 we had 122 participate in student missions, our average weekly attendance grew by 35% , and we began serving the poor multiple times a month as a part of D-Team). Over all, I've been pleased with what has taken place thus far.
However, I don't think we've reached the full potential of our students. By-in-large, in the past two and a half years, we've not seen our students' friends coming to know Christ. We've not seen our students get passionate about sharing Christ with others. We've not seen a large increase in the number of students participating in ministry (serving others) on a weekly basis.
This leads me to believe that it is time for some changes to take place. The old saying is, "Keep doing what you're doing; keep getting what you've got." Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for the student ministry at Ridgecrest, the students who are involved and the volunteers who make ministry possible. But I cannot ignore the fact that students are not getting involved in ministering to others. I think that getting students active in sharing their faith is more important than continuing the status quo. It's more important than "playing it safe" with our programming. So this is my present reality.
I HAVE A DREAM
In my dream...which is the same, but different each time...I see students who don't just show up for services each week. I see students actively sharing their faith through serving others. Students leading Bible Studies in their homes. Students sharing Christ with their neighborhoods. Students passionately worshiping God in their school gymnasiums. Students who are not bored with the idea of church, but are invigerated by being the church! Students who are not only part of a ministry, but students who have a ministry!
The great thing about my dream is that in it, students from all backgrounds, social networks, and geographic areas are involved. They are active in ministry (sharing Christ) in a way that best fits their situation! They get to do what is most comfortable to them or what is the most uncomfortable -- but they are active in sharing Christ!
What does this mean for rbcstudents? It means that you have an opportunity to be the church and not just show up for church. It means that you can...
...lead a Home Group (a home Bible study you lead for your friends).
...do the My World Project (serve fellow students at your school through clubs, sports, and organizations).
...try to Rock Your Block (reach your neighborhood through backyard Bible schools or sports camps).
...be part of our Road Crew (the ministry team with the Mobile Church Unit).
These are just a few ideas. You might have more!
Here is the short answer for how my dream is different, yet the same...every student owns (is active in) ministry and none of the ministries look the same!
For rbcstudents a shift is coming this fall. A shift from doing church to being the church.
I'm Nate, and this is what I think is essential.