Consultation on Student Mobilization Moves to De-Marginalize Mission
With 32 Christian workers representing 22 organizations, the November 6-7 Chicago Consultation on Student Mobilization proved to be exceptionally fertile ground for discussion on ministry to and mobilization of this generation of youth.
The weekend provided ample opportunity to hear rousing reports from throughout the nation, discuss developing trends and determine ways the Christian community can better work, plan and pray together for God's continued outpouring.
In recognizing the great similarity of trends throughout the country, the leaders discussed how best to bridge the gapsboth in the students' world and the weaknesses within the ministries represented.
Making for particularly profitable conversation was the great variety of organizations that participated. Wycliffe, TEAM and Frontiers provided missions-specific insight. Intervarsity and Student Mobilization (among others) provided campus-oriented perspective. Four mobilization/training agencies and representatives from three colleges rounded out participation.
The missions community was challenged to "de-marginalize mission"taking missions service out of an isolated enclave of extremists and demonstrate that mission involvement is a natural outflow of discipleship. Michael Schwartz, associate publisher of ECHO magazine, who has sought to build bridges from the missions community to the broader Christian world, said, "The whole weekend was, for me, an answer to years of prayer."
The proposals offered to strengthen ministry to college-age youth included: Shifting the mind-set from "recruiting" to "befriending," providing aid to students who increasingly carry heavy emotional baggage but have much to offer the Kingdom, integrating parachurch disciplers with the student's pastor/youth pastor, and helping to provide a more solid Biblical foundation to young people engaging an increasingly relativistic world.
One of the more significant fruits of the weekend was the unity developed amongst organizations from different regions, with different goals, modes of operation and objectives.
One break-out group worked to develop a covenant that could serve as a discipleship tool to be used on a personal level. The central goal was to create a banner of core values, even a life motto, that young people (and all the organizations present) could come under and use without affiliation to any one organization.
Considered to be something of a sacred vow and designed to be used in the context of personal accountability, it is provided here, in its entirety:
Because the ultimate reality is God's Kingdom, where He will be worshiped by every tongue, tribe, people and nation; Because, in His grace and incredible love, Jesus has reconciled me to Himself; Because He will soon return; And because many still have not embraced these Biblical truths, I covenant before God and my Community of Believers to passionately invest my life in a growing intimacy with the authentic Jesus, obediently abandon my selfish ambitions, and urgently reveal the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
If the recent move of God amongst young people today is, as a number of people expressed, just the fringe of a greater outpouring, the prayerful unity of the Chicago Consultation may be part of a greater foundation on which a great amount of building may take place.