Mobilization in a sending culture part 2
How do I know what God is calling me to after college? What is God’s will for my life? How do I know if I am making the right decision? Where should I move? What job should I take? What about the foreign mission field? How can I use my major to expand God’s kingdom?
These questions often plague students and produce anxiety, fear and confusion when they think about their future. Rather than just answering their questions, we must give our students a strong foundation. Shaping students’ spiritual foundation will help them anticipate their future with vision and clarity in the Great Commission.
In effective mobilization, we need to equip students in three critical areas:
- Perspective: students need a proper understanding of calling and contribution.
- Framework: students need convictions to guide them beyond the campus.
- Experience: students need to develop a pattern of Kingdom-oriented decision making.
Perspective: Understanding Calling and Contribution
Calling is often a mystical and often paralyzing word for college seniors. We need to help students look in God’s word for a clear, simple view on calling.
Throughout the New Testament, we see calling laid out as a general call to know Christ, become like Him and live out His Mission. All believers share Christ’s primary and unchanging calling. As ambassadors of Christ, we are commissioned to bring His redemptive story to all nations.
For verses related to a calling read, Mark 1:16-20, Mark 2:13-17, Mark 3:13-14, Matthew 10:1-7, 2 Corinthians 5, Ephesians 4:1-4, 1 Thessalonians 4, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24, 2 Thessalonians 1:11, 2 Peter 1:5-11. The book Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung is a great resource as well.
Everyone has a unique contribution (or secondary calling) within this primary calling. Contribution can be influenced gifting, work and life experience, opportunity, personality, vision, passions, etc. One of the best parts of our job is helping students develop their vision for how they can contribute to the Great Commission.
Students need guidance as to how they can leverage their gifts and desires to make a strategic contribution to the Great Commission. It may be engineering majors who want to work hard for the glory of God and share the gospel with lost co-workers or education majors who want to teach in an urban context or a foreign country or athletes whose skills could be used to reach unreached people groups (there are countless examples). Whatever the case, we get to help our students see how their gifts and desires align with the Great Commission.
For verses related to contribution read, Psalms 139:13-15, Ephesians 2:10, Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4.
When seniors understand calling and contribution, they will experience freedom in the mobilization process. Below is a table that helps bring further clarity:
|Follow Christ in His mission||Play your role—unique contribution|
|Immediately by God||Mediately through God, men/counsel|
|Infallible—perfect from the Lord||Fallible—not always certain or right|
|Irrevocable—eternal and unchanging||Revocable—subject to change over life|
This table was taken from a talk given on Calling by Sandy Wilson, Senior Minister at Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis. Sandy has been very influential to myself and many others on how to think about calling.
After gaining an understanding on calling, it is critical that students develop convictions to further guide the mobilization process.
Framework: Developing Biblical Convictions
A conviction is a fixed unwavering belief. As we disciple and mobilize students, we must help them build convictions rooted in God’s word, expressed in action and shared with others for accountability. Students need to “drive a few stakes in the ground” before they graduate so they will continue in their calling after they graduate.
Help them answer the question: “What am I going to do, no matter what?” Is spending time in God’s Word every day non-negotiable? Can integrating into an authentic, committed, missional community be compromised? Are students convinced they need to make disciples in every context?
Having convictions not only helps students continue following Christ, but also simplifies the decision making process about their future. Often students use the framework of their convictions to help them arrive at the best options to pursue after college.
For key verses on convictions see Daniel 1, Matthew 7:24-27 and 2 Timothy 3:12-17. Click here for a conviction building workshop you can take students through.
Proper understanding of calling and building convictions are foundational for senior mobilization. The last part of the process is decision making. It is not enough to have the right perspective, but seniors need to have courage in making decisions.
Experience: Making Big Decisions
We pray that all of our seniors would make faith-filled, radical, Kingdom decisions after college. What are you doing with your students now that will help them make these decisions when they graduate?
College is a foundational place where students develop habits, values, and Ebenezer stones (see 1 Samuel 7:12) to shape the way they live in the future. Cultivate radical decision making based on biblical precepts: sacrificing sleep for all night prayer meetings, turning down an internship for a summer mission project, funding fraternity brothers to go to a retreat, sharing the gospel with an intimidating classmate. Empower students to take risks and see God’s power on display.
When a student graduates, they have experiences with God walking by faith. They saw Him work in and through them. It’s exciting to see how a lifestyle of Great Commission decision-making will follow a person for years after they graduate.
Do you want to unleash seniors in their Great Commission after college? Help them get in God’s word for perspective on calling and contribution, build convictions for framework and make big decisions to launch in light of God’s kingdom. Pray the Lord will ignite the hearts of your students to desire Him and His Great Commission!
In Part 3 of the series, we will look at how to position seniors strategically for impact after they graduate. If you have ever been discouraged to see a disciple that stops laboring or gets lost in the post college world, you won’t want to miss the next article.