God is doing some awesome things on college campuses today! Students are starting to catch the vision that God has placed them on their campuses to reach out to their peers and share the Gospel with them. Many are recognizing that Jesus’ call to “make disciples of all nations” applies to us even while we are in college.
However, even though students are getting excited about sharing their faith, when it comes to actually living out a “missional” lifestyle, we quickly get frustrated, bored, or tired. Why is this? I think part of the reason is that we tend to focus so much on the mechanics of living out God’s mission that we forget about discipleship, which just means following Jesus and teaching others how to follow Jesus. We tend to rely on our own strength and power rather than God’s.
Abide in Christ
The first important part of following Christ is spending time with him! It’s easy as college students to get so busy that we forget to make time for communing with God through prayer and scripture. These aren’t just daily rituals to be checked off our to-do list; they are essential components of our relationship with Jesus.
When we are truly growing and deepening our personal relationship with Him, we don’t have to try so hard to be missional. As we draw closer to God, He makes us more like Christ; always loving and caring for others above ourselves.
Let Others Pour Into You
Another important aspect of discipleship is seeking counsel and guidance from believers older and wiser than us. Try finding someone in your church who’s been a Christian longer than you have; maybe even longer than you’ve been alive. They probably have a lot of wisdom to share with you and can help guide you in your journey of following Christ and leading others to Him.
Pour Into Others
Finally, obey Jesus’ command to make disciples, “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”. A disciple is a follower, so show others how to follow Jesus! This means encouraging younger students (and those younger in their faith) to pursue Christ more deeply and sharing your experiences with them.
It also means talking to your unbelieving friends about Jesus in a way that encourages them to follow Him as you do. Don’t just tell others about your faith; teach them with your words and actions to become a follower of Christ.
I hope reading this has got your brain spinning thinking of ways you can grow in following Jesus and how you can help others follow Jesus. Discipleship is essential for mission because you, as a missionary, should always be following Jesus and teaching others how to follow him. In fact, the Greatest Commandment, according to Jesus, is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” and the second is “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:29-31). That’s what discipleship, and ultimately God’s mission, is all about!