Each year we host a huge Halloween costume dance party. We charter a boat from a cruise company in Seattle and take a cruise around the Puget Sound for about two hours. With food, dancing and of course a lot of candy, we get the opportunity to hangout with a lot of students. We normally see around a 20% increase in our attendance. This is because students have done a great job of inviting their friends.
This is the story of one of those new students.
She identified herself as someone who had no "religious" beliefs. After this event she did not make it back to any of our weekly gatherings. When it was time to begin signing up for winter camp, she was invited to attend. She agreed and came to camp. She had a great experience. She connected with many of the students and adults. As of this past week she has not missed a Wednesday night, and has even started to attend small group. She has been accepted into the group and is finding her place. The greatest news is that this past Wednesday night, she asked Jesus into her heart and wrote this as a prayer request, "That I follow through with my commitment to Jesus and take time out of my life to worship Him."
I believe we need to continue to teach our students about being missional, and how to love their friends, and how to share their faith and how to serve the marginalized. All of these are important. It helps teach students that their walk with Jesus is not just about one more event or cool activity, or what they can "consume" at church. I still believe the church has a place for excellence, small groups that can meet the needs of the believer, Sunday gatherings where the gospel is taught, and yes, even parties...parties where a student can be invited, dance the night away, meet a couple other kids, and then as a result, be invited to a camp, meet more kids and a few adult leaders, then meet the most important person of all, Jesus.
What are you doing to balance being attractional and missional?