This Sunday will be different. It will look and sound a bit different. And this is a good thing, not just for the students, but for all of us.
Every year there is a three day assault on Heritage called “Deep Impact“. It becomes a construction zone for a week. There has been a house built in the sanctuary. One year we built a 60ft pirate ship, then took chainsaws to it to make it look “wrecked“. There was a Roman coliseum, a big top tent, Dr Seus’ World, and of course, the grass…
What may be lost in all of this is how the decorations are not just for show. They are intentional and important. The Student Ministry wants each and every student to walk in and immediately think, “That is not what I was expecting.” As the weekend unfolds we want students to continue to think, “That is not what I was expecting.” And as they are confronted with the truths of who Jesus is and what He has done we want them to think, “That is not THE JESUS I was expecting.”
Most of you will only experience Sunday morning, but know it will have been going on for 36 hours by the time the service rolls around. Students will have been through two main sessions, three other bible studies (in homes scattered throughout the city), an Amazing Race style scavenger hunt, and way too much sugar for their own good. By 10:30 on Sunday morning they will be sleep deprived, over caffeinated, and overloaded with information. And they are teenagers… They will probably be attempting to be on their best behavior, but that may not count for much by Sunday morning. Some will fall asleep in service. Some will not be listening, and still some can’t sit still and listen under the best of circumstances.
For years the student ministry has put on this event designed to challenge young people wherever they are with the Lord.
It was originally called “Disciple Now Weekend”, but we realized this was for far more than just discipleship.Students are encouraged to invite people who may have never heard the Gospel, who are not involved in church, or who are not walking with the Lord. We were praying for big things and asking for more than just “our kids” to be nice. We were asking God to change us in DEEP, meaningful, life-altering ways. Maybe for some, for the first time. And “Deep Impact” was born.
As always, there will be a good number of students who have not heard the Gospel before this weekend. There will be at least one who has never attended a church service. There will be more who have no relationship with Jesus. This means: OUR ATTITUDES MATTER.
They will hear you complaining…
They will see you walking out…
The reverse is true as well.
They will respond to genuine-ness. Maybe not how you would like, but they will notice.
These students are hungry to be accepted and have people who care. When they see this they will notice.
These students will know if they are loved or just tolerated, welcomed or withdrawn from.
While this weekend is a “student weekend” it involves all of us.
This weekend is important because it is a dramatic change of pace and a call to follow Jesus for these students. But it is important for all of us as well. We have the opportunity to welcome these young people, to model Christ’ love for them. We, as adults, can live in front of them in a way that leads them to say, “That is not what I was expecting from grown ups.”
See you Sunday…