And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
One of the things I love about Campus Outreach is that a local church started it. God’s central agency for accomplishing all He plans to do in the world is His church (Ephesians 1: 18-23). I also love that Campus Outreach sees that a part of discipleship is to teach people to serve Christ under the leadership of a local church.
A significant way we should be teaching those we disciple what it means to carry out their mission in the world through the church is by teaching them that every calling matters to God and has been designed to display His glory and greatness in the world. Reformed historians call this “the priesthood of every believer”.
Next to the recovery of justification by faith alone through grace alone, the Reformation’s emphasis on the priesthood of every believer was the most culturally transforming. The idea that there were not two classes of Christians (clergy and laymen) or two types of work (holy and secular), but rather one priesthood with one holy calling, unleashed Christians to be the Church in the world. The result was that the gospel spread like a flame not just geographically but demographically through every vocation.
Our discipleship of college students gives us a tremendous context for both teaching and helping young followers of Christ fulfill a kingdom-mission in the world.
Let me suggest 6 ways to disciple students with this perspective in mind:
- Do personal soul-work. We must first repent of any sacred-secular dichotomy that we may be holding on to. If we still think that what is done inside the walls of the church is more spiritual and important than what believers do in their “secular” jobs, we will make numerous mistakes in leading them.
- Teach a biblical worldview of vocation. We should teach our disciples to have a comprehensive view of all of life. “This is my Father’s world.” We must view every sphere of life as an avenue and opportunity to display God’s redemptive purposes. This means we should be helping everyone see the kingdom vision for any and every vocation they pursue.
- Believe in the Holy Spirit. We must release people with the Holy Spirit to take the gospel to people and places that we could never reach or penetrate. Our role as disciples is to encourage faith, hope, and love and this requires dependence upon the Holy Spirit.
- Emphasize strengths rather than focus on weaknesses. Help people discover their gifts and encourage them to embrace the person God has made them to be rather than despising who they are. Often we often idolize someone else’s perceived strengths and despise or undervalue our own. Paul requires that we have “sober judgment” in relation to our own gifts. (Romans 12:3)
- Guide toward merciful applications of every calling. While most who have revived a Reformed view of vocation develop very clearly what it means to “walk humbly with God,” few expressly address the rest of Micah’s exhortation to “do justly and to love mercy.” Every calling, even discipling college students, includes a call to justice and mercy. Encourage students to wrestle through ways they should be seeking justice and mercy while they are still on the campus in preparation of this beyond the campus.
- Teach them that the cultural mandate is not a substitute for the Great Commission or a holy life. Without a conscious focus on doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God as the means of restoring human beings made in the image of God to a relationship with the Father through personal commitment to Jesus Christ, this approach to vocation and calling will devolve into an excuse for indulgence and compromise (e.g. God delights in anything I do).
Kingdom discipleship in relation to calling requires that we steward our influence so that “in everything He might have the supremacy”. Join me in asking God to spread the gospel like a flame not just geographically but demographically through every vocation.
– Dr. George Robertson (Pastor First Presbyterian Church Augusta, GA)
Pray for CO Greenville:
Reach the next generation of students on all our campuses this year
Raise up African American ministry movements within our ministries
- Launch graduates into clear mobilization tracks