As usual, Brian Sanders managed to communicate a lot in his talk on the Sunday morning of the Ambition Conference. Brian is the former Divisional Director for InterVarsity in Florida and currently serves as the Executive Director for the Underground Network.
Brian talked about strategy and priorities.
Brian talked about risk-taking.
Brian talked about love.
Brian talked about God.
But woven throughout it all was the idea that for an apostolic missional movement to really take off, the God-given gifts of the entire community had to be put into play.
In Romans 15:14, the Apostle Paul displays a tremendous amount of trust in the readiness of the church to carry out the mission of God:
I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.According to Brian, much of ministry and teaching is just reminding. God's people have been filled with God's Spirit and so are ready to engage God's mission.
Whenever we talk about our work on campus, people are always amazed at what our students can accomplish. A handful of 18 year olds, filled with God's Spirit, can impact an entire campus. Students can lead their friends to Christ. Students can get justice programs up and running. Students can serve. Students can lead.
And that's a secret.
InterVarsity's sweet secret is the sweet secret shared by all apostolic missional movements. We believe that all of our students can contribute to the mission. We believe that everyone can do something, everyone can start something, everyone can make an impact ... if they are filled with God's Spirit.
With Brian's encouragement, we need to maintain our trust in our students and in God's filling Spirit.
Planting is an endeavor that tempts us toward self-reliance. In the early stages of a plant, you can feel like you have to do everything. Someone has to talk to students, set up tables, pray, plan, fundraise and lead Small Groups and ... since there's no one else at the start ... you shoulder the responsibility.
In some contexts, Staff struggle to let students carry the load, waiting for a more convenient time to hand off responsibility. And, if we're not careful, we become chaplins for the chapter and our ministry only reaches the students we reach.
This, I think is why so many InterVarsity chapters get stuck at 40 (and why so many churches get stuck at 200). Reliance on paid Staff is a significant limiting factor to the growth of a movement.
And this is why Brian issued an apostolic calling. Folks who pursue apostolic ministry are in the business of trying the untried thing to reach the unreached person. Apostles are creative and ambitious. Apostles include other people in the mission.
What would happen if everyone was engaged? How would that change things on campus? How would that change the church?
Feel free to check out Brian's talk:
Thanks for being patient with me as I walked through the content from this conference. It was a great experience for me to slow down and really process what I heard. I'll be back to regular blogging starting tomorrow.