When I first began to serve in North Canton, OH I wasn’t exactly sure what I was doing. But one thing God had made clear to me – don’t sit behind the walls of a building. Go out among my people and love them as I have loved them. Unclear of what it entirely looks like – over 5 years later and God has taught me much about being on mission with him and that setting up rhythms and remaining faithful to those rhythms for the long-haul pay dividends for making His name known.
In this post I am going to look at 3 overarching themes God has taught me, and then I will break down further what it looks like to set up missional rhythms in order to disciple middle school students and create concrete disciples of Jesus.
#1. Get to know the community
This is huge – I was a boy from an urban-ish city who attended a private Christian university shielded from its urban surroundings that moved into what was clearly a city with small-town mentality. I had never grown up where most people knew each other – with big families with big names who others had heard of. Where everyone was trying to be on the same team. I was from Akron – you know, where LeBron grew up?
As time went on, I got to know the community. I began to sleep, eat, breathe, dream, and wrestle with what it meant to be a middle schooler in North Canton, Ohio. Tomorrow I will break down steps I took to learn the community, the students, etc. Began to ask yourself what the rhythms of a middle school student in your community look like. Where do they go and why do they go there? How involved are their parents?
#2. Don’t stop at “no”
While this is a two-edged sword – and I will dive deeper into this one in regards to how our missional rhythms while partnering with schools look like – but don’t stop just because you hear no. I had a lot of people tell me no – and I heard and saw a lot of “nos” compared to what it seemed others were doing. But when I was faithful to the little things – God worked through those people and made the “no” a “yes.”
If we let it be on our own power – we will never get very far. But if we have to let God do something only God can do – then we will see mountains be moved. The relationships God has brought with the local community and the rhythms he has blessed me to be a part of are mountains which I was not able to move – but that God delighted in moving for me.If we have to let God do something only God can do - then we will see mountains be moved. Click To Tweet
#3. Longevity brings trust – stay faithful
I must say it is not easy to make missional rhythms a part of my week. I am now married and have a child on the way. I have less and less time – and yet there is something about staying faithful with the doors God has opened. And while I will touch on this more – discerning which doors to stay faithful and where to equip others to carry rhythms – I am blessed to say that the current middle school students have never known a time where God has not allowed me to be a part of their rhythms. From football games to track meets to after-school events – I am thankful that even when I was worn, pressed down, tired – I remained faithful to the rhythms God had set before me.
I have watched others I have tried to partner with grow weary – and though I am wired differently than others – I am so grateful I pressed into God and kept going. Even when others in the community gave strange stares, even when others wondered – I knew what God had and is calling me to do.
What do you need to do in order to make your everyday rhythms intentional to be on mission with God? Click To Tweet
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10 ESV
Whether you have been faithful in your context for years or just starting – what do you need to do in order to make your everyday rhythms intentional to be on mission with God? Making disciples, especially of middle school students, must go beyond a gathering once or twice a week. So what is God asking you to do? What rhythms is he asking you to be a part of or adapt for His glory? And what are you going to do about it?