Mobilization in a sending culture part 3
When you see a sending culture develop (Part 1) and have seniors who desire to give their lives to the Great Commission (Part 2), it’s critical they’re mobilized into a strategic post-college opportunity where they can live out their vision and continue in the Great Commission.
What is a strategic opportunity?
The word strategic is defined as, “the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them.”
In the Christian life, the long-term goal is seen in Revelation 7:9-12 where people from every nation worship the Lamb of God.
A Strategic Mobilization Opportunity is a one to three year plan for graduates that will move them toward a life of mission. The hope is graduated students would continue loving God, sharing their faith, and making disciples with a desire to reach the world no matter where they are or what they’re doing.
These strategic opportunities help them stay on this journey in the critical years after graduation.
Graduates can thrive if they are connected to missional community within a local church, leadership that will invest in their lives, and a mission strategy that places them in the midst of the lost, making disciples.
These three components are the essential parts of a Strategic Mobilization Opportunity. As college ministry staff we need to help students identify and connect to structures in place for community, leadership, and a mission strategy.
This is the final step in the mobilization process.
In our ministry we connect people to a variety of opportunities like:
- Local Opportunities– Based in Memphis we have a variety of churches, parachurch ministries, and marketplace organizations we work hard to connect students with. Here we can ensure they have community, leadership, and a mission strategy.
- Regional Opportunities– We have relationships with churches in regional cities around the South and Midwest. The majority of our students move to St. Louis, Nashville, Memphis, and Louisville and we have connections in each, so students who move there can “land well.”
- International Opportunities– Students with a passion for missions need help connecting with missionary agencies. Students get lost in the vast number of international missions opportunities. Connections we’ve made with organizations allow us to help students quickly find like-minded international teams and organizations. We have opportunities in a wide array of fields like education, business, college ministry, medical, etc. to accommodate the different skills of our graduates.
If a student has a desire to be a missionary, we connect them to a opportunity to live out that goal and make an impact.
Since we’ve formed these Strategic Mobilization Opportunities, more of our students have been intentionally mobilized.
Why develop Strategic Mobilization Opportunities?
- The first two or three years out of college are “trajectory years.” These are the years graduates form habits, make big value-decisions, and connect to community that can set a trajectory for the next five to ten years.
- People thrive in structure, especially during transitions. Our goal with these opportunities is to help graduates find structure and keep them moving in the right direction as they face “real world” disappointment, challenges, failures and successes.
- Students have endless options—that’s not always a good thing. For example, a student who is interested in going overseas may be paralyzed by a choice between 25 different agencies. For international, regional, and local opportunities we offer two or three options of each for our grads.
- “Who you do life with in your 20s is more important than what you do in your 20s.” I have heard this said over the years and I agree. The people our graduates surround themselves with are critical. We’ve spent a lot of time over the years building relationships with pastors, missionaries, businessmen, teachers, etc. that our graduates can connect with after college.
How do you develop Strategic Mobilization Opportunities?
- Build networks in a few key places to start. I would suggest one or two national and international options. Pray, network, network, network, discuss, pray, then send students. Over the last seven years, our grads have served as teachers, ministry workers, nurses, engineers, pastors, etc. in Memphis which gives us a pipeline of contacts within the city. We have aligned our stateside and international mobilization with the missions strategy of our local church. This is huge for both our organization and the church.
- Know your graduates. Where do they come from? Where do they move after college? What do they major in? What countries do they have a heart for? Knowing your students will help you know what opportunities to connect them to.
- Expose students to these strategic opportunities. We seek to give students regular exposure to alumni working post college. We’ve brought in pastors, businessmen, missionaries and alumni to speak to our students. Try having a Mobilization Conference just for seniors where you cast vision and share about strategic opportunities they could enter into.
- Consider a Mobilization Coordinator. Depending on your ministry context (how many students are involved, how many staff, how many campuses, etc) it could be helpful to have a staff person who focuses on mobilizing seniors. You may not need staff dedicated solely to mobilization, but you should set aside enough time to develop opportunities and mobilize your seniors.
As you reach students for Christ on the campus and disciple them, finish the process by connecting them to strategic post-college opportunities where they can continue making disciples of all nations…wherever they are!