Our first series of the school year, “Community: where everybody knows your name,” ended up being a fantastic way to launch our ministry year with central and foundational truths that will hopefully be great building blocks for our students as they navigate this school year. There were a variety of reasons that we started the year this way, some that we planned in advanced and others that unfolded themselves as the series progressed:
- Our desire was for students to start the year with a biblical understanding of healthy relationships, so we broke down the 3 key relationships they all have, or should have: week 1 – Community with God, week 2 – Community with Believers, and week 3 – Community with the Lost.
- The series hit on both aspects of our church’s mission statement: Building a Community to Reach a Community!
- Community Group (what we call small groups) promotion. It was an easy push since the series was called “Community.” We mentioned C-Groups every week of the series and made a BIG push for them in week 2. Thankfully, the focused push for C-Groups was a huge success as we have started this year with nearly 30 more students involved in C-Groups than we did last year!
- I realized after we started the series that we were able to emphasize the Great Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself.” This is even more significant considering our second series was focused on THE Cause (the Great Commission).
- I leaned into the theology of the Trinity for Community with God. We used the idea of the painting of the Trinity that Dare 2 Share used this past year for their un.tour. It helped the students visualize this massive piece of theology and I’ve even heard since then that students went home and drew the image for their parents and discussed the Trinity. How cool is that? It really helped them understand that since God Himself exists in community that we were also made to live in community. First, with Him. Second, with each other. Here’s a pic of the painting we did during the sermon…that’s right. We did it live as part of the teaching time.
- Ryan, our Student Ministry C-Group Coordinator, taught the second week since the emphasis was Community with Believers which fit perfectly with the push we made for C-Groups. We ended the morning by facilitating a time of prayer and never could have imagined how powerful it was going to be…and it allowed us to touch on all 3 aspects of community. We had students get in groups of 3-4 (Community with Believers) and explained how while praying they would also be experiencing Community with God. Their focus of prayer was on their lost friends which also prepared them for the following week – Community with the Lost. I was overwhelmed as their Student Ministry Pastor hearing nearly 250 students pray for their friends and their campuses, out loud, all at once. It was amazing!
- Community with the Lost ended up being a great way to wrap up the series and it also allowed us to launch the next series, “CAMPUS – we must take this house!” I talked to the students about their role as preist to the lost in our world and as we concluded that morning I had them write the name of a lost friend on their hand and we prayed for them. We also had them sign up for C-Groups that morning and had them included the name of the lost friend they were praying for to their C-Group leaders so our adults could join them in praying for their friends.