Lessons in Mission: Young Adults
Over the last few years of being involved in mission with young adults, I have always had it on my heart to lead and help others grow communities where people know that they are “sent”. I can remember long conversations – with both those who are Christians and those who are not – about how God is a sending God, that He sent Jesus to die for us and that He has now sent us into the broken world around us to represent Him and help see it restored into His image.
Within this, lots of us have (slowly!) learned how to get better at knowing who God has sent us to and how we can be good news to those around us. However, what I have realised along with others that have shared this journey with me is this: it’s not just who He has sent us TO, but who He has sent us WITH that’s important.
I think there are 2 key things within this that God has taught us:
1. We PARTNER WITH HIM
Matt 28:19 – “Go and make disciples… and surely I am with you, even until the end of the age.”
So there is this great paradox with living in the Kingdom – that God sends us, but is also with us. Confusing? Maybe. Reassuring? Definitely! I suppose what I have missed out from the long conversations I mentioned earlier is the realisation that God has sent His Holy Spirit to live in us and lead us. No longer do we go anywhere on our own.
I remember being part of a young adult/workplace focussed missional community years ago when God first spoke to me about how much He wanted to come to work with me! My whole outlook on my work changed; I started looking to go on little adventures with God, and I can honestly say that it marked a turning point in seeing numerous opportunities to share Jesus with people and see them discipled in various ways.
Why did Jesus bother to recruit 12 down-and-outs at the start of His ministry? Why did He send the apostles out in 2’s to the towns and cities ahead of Him (Luke 10)? Why did He get 2 people to fetch a donkey (Mark 14)?? There’s a common theme – we don’t work alone!
Again, I think choosing to partner with others in mission is one of the best things some of us as young adults have learned to do. Missional communities are about being on mission together! In our current community, we are really enjoying the opportunity to introduce our people of peace to each other and inviting them to join in more with the whole community, through various things that we do. Maybe it’s just me, but sharing the Good News with others and trying to disciple them can be really tiring and hard when I do it alone! I need other people to encourage, challenge and inspire me in mission. I’m fairly convinced that going alone also prevents people from experiencing the fullness of the Gospel message: God IS COMMUNITY – He shares 3 relationships within Himself – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They partner together in relationship with us and so when we go with others, we represent this to the world around us.
Two of the biggest giants that we have seen in young adult culture are probably individualism and consumerism. In essence, both of these are about putting “me” at the centre. What we have found is that if, as those trying to reach young adults, we buy into either of these 2 ways of thinking, we cease to be effective in mission. This is because mission isn’t about putting “me” at the centre – rather, it’s about God and others around us. So when we choose partnership it allows God’s natural grace for mission to flow and for others to experience God for who He really is – the One who is committed to relationship and adventure with others, no matter what. To a broken, lonely and frustrated generation, that’s incredibly Good News.
Who has God sent you to?
Are you partnering with Him?
Who are you taking with you as you go?
Simon Ford lives in Sheffield, is part of the King’s Centre Church and works for 3dm UK. He has been part of and led various young adult and workplace-focussed missional communities over the last 9 years.