As missions-minded people, we have a twofold missions challenge:
- Reach nonbelievers (evangelism)
- Reach believers (discipleship)
Jesus called us to share the gospel with nonbelievers and make disciples of believers.
Christianity is alive today because for 2,000 years each generation has faithfully practiced evangelism and discipleship. While they unfold corporately through programs and events, perhaps they happen most effectively one-on-one.
Missions typically means embarking on some geographic travel, learning the language, and understanding the culture. The same is true for next-generation discipleship. It requires work, inconvenience, and discomfort.
- Geographic travel—Go to coffee shops, trendy restaurants, the gym, and sporting events.
- Language—Learn texting lingo and engage in social media.
- Culture—Seek to understand the next generation’s music, entertainment choices, passions, and motivations.
Like evangelism, discipleship happens relationally as we relentlessly love others and intentionally live an active faith.
Here are 10 practical ways for you and your missions group to challenge one another to missional discipleship:
- Pray for the “want to.”
All of us are naturally more comfortable with people who look and sound like us. Ask God to give you an urgency to light a fire for missions in the next generation.
- Read Acts 18.
Allow Priscilla and Aquila (did you notice her name is mentioned first in verse 26?) to inspire you to invest in a young person.
- Ask God, “Who is my Apollos?”
Pray for the opportunity to befriend and love on your Apollos.
- Host/plan a game night.
Lead your Sunday School class or small group to host a fellowship night with another Sunday School class or small group to encourage cross-generational friendships (and your Apollos might be identified). For instance, a class of middle-aged married couples might plan a game night with the young married class.
- Invite your Apollos home for dinner (or out for coffee).
Develop a friendship. Listen more than you talk. Ask questions about her family, friends, hobbies, and interests. Don’t offer opinions unless asked. Repeat a coffee date every few weeks.
- Pray daily for your Apollos.
Ask God to fill your Apollos with a passion to live out the Great Commandment and the Great Commission (pray the same for yourself).
- Plan a shoebox packing party.
Invite members of your missions group and their Apollos friends. This fun, no-pressure missions activity will double as a social gathering to strengthen relationships.
- Invite your Apollos to go with you to visit a friend in the hospital or nursing home.
Model how to love on those who are sick or lonely. Pray with your friend. Share an encouraging verse from Scripture. Your Apollos will watch and learn.
- Plan a discipleship cookie party to bless college students.
Ask each group member to bake 3 dozen cookies. Share your cookies to create a variety to mail to college students in your church during finals week. Write notes to confirm you are praying. Include a Bible verse. Reach out face-to-face when they are home.
Continue praying, meeting for coffee and conversation, and missions activities. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead out.
In Acts 18, Priscilla and Aquilla intentionally pour into Apollos. You also have an “Apollos,” and your Apollos is a person, not a project. Ask God to allow love for Him—and for her—to lead. Will you make room for intentional, relentless (and sometimes uncomfortable and inconvenient) actions to disciple the next generation?
Laura Macfarlan endeavors to practice discipleship and evangelism as she encourages women to love God and love His Word. View her teaching ministry at YouTube.com/CrossMyHeartMinistry.
This article originally appeared in the October 2020 issue of Missions Mosaic. To subscribe to this monthly missions lifestyle magazine, visit wmustore.com.