Working with Other Churches and Para-churches to Reach Students
I love biscuits! Especially when they come out warm and golden brown. I always put some butter in them right before I eat. That adds to the healthiness, right? When you look at a biscuit you think it must take a special person and attention to make those pieces of heaven come out just right. Or, as some do, they go to Cracker Barrel and load up without the fuss of making their own. Whether you eat the homemade version or the Cracker Barrel version that’s ok. It’s easy, quick and really good. To look at that and take part in the eating of them there is not a lot of work, just pure joy. Let me assure you, work took place. Time took place. Attention to detail was given. Experience gained. Failure known. Lessons were learned in defeat. But after all that we get to have an awesome biscuit. Now, we get to experience all the hard work of partaking in a wonderful biscuit cooked to perfection.
Working with other churches to reach a community takes time, resources, personnel, sweat and a huge amount of compromise. It is not easy to work with people who come from different backgrounds, vary working cultures, philosophical differences and much more. It is hard enough to schedule meetings with your volunteer teams in your own church or organization let alone from multiple churches and organizations. In the end though, its worth it. You will work harder in meetings with other churches and leaders and at some moments you will feel defeated, but don’t lose heart. In the end, God blesses our people when we point our community to Him.
Here are 3 practical steps to start off with while working with other churches and para-church organizations.
Jesus is the Primary Focus.
When I read God’s Word, I feel so encouraged that God blesses those that seek to make Him known. It is not about us as youth workers being on the stage or getting the notoriety. It is about students knowing Christ more deeply and being satisfied fully in a relationship with Him. Jesus has to be our focus on any event or gathering. Whether its a “to the death” dodge ball game or a student crusade in the community, make Jesus the center of the event.
Prayer is the catalyst that makes or breaks plans.
In many meetings I have had the pleasure of partnering with others, egos can take over quickly. I have also noticed that when we pray before we discuss and pray following the meeting God guides our ways, words and thoughts. I am not talking about a simple prayer, I’m speaking to passionately praying that God takes us over and everything discussed in those meetings. It is about Him and not about the cool church or organization. Prayer works people, its our direct connection with the God of the Universe. Talking to God as a varied group from multiple backgrounds with different ideas. God will bless it. Even when it seems like nothing is getting accomplished, keep praying and God will show you all a better way. He will reveal to us things we never thought possible. Jeremiah 33.3 says “Call unto me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33.3 ESV 2002, Crossway Publishers.
An attitude of gratitude goes a long way.
When our lives ooze the Grace of God, our meetings will look different. Grace allows us to know we are all broken and we do not have it figured out. Look at what Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 2.1 and following “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2.1 ESV 2002, Crossway Publishers.
“The grace that is in Christ Jesus” is a phrase that leaps off the page to me. When you look at the literal meaning behind the passage it says: Favored, changed from old to new in Christ Jesus. Paul goes on to say that we need to be strengthened by being favored and changed from old to new. Without Grace, we are nothing. With Grace, we are brand new through Jesus. With that in mind, the ideas that we have and the events we can create are meaningless without Jesus. Our working with others has to model Grace that is in Jesus and allow Jesus to shine through. We have not done the work, rather Jesus has done it and continues to do it. Be gracious of others, it goes a long way to building a relationship that transforms your community.
Greg Simmons is the student ministry at First Baptist Church in Houston, MS. He and his wife, Amanda, have three children: Grey, Leigh-Anna, and Sophie. In ministry, Greg is most specifically passionate for the family. What gets him excited is when a family is all in with discipleship in Christ and proclamation of Jesus Christ to others. It looks different in many ways from family to family, but seeing that take place is exciting to him. Greg’s end goal is for children, students, and parents to know Christ and glorify Him by making him known to others.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.