Everything has changed, yet nothing has changed.
As I listen to pastors and visit churches, I conclude that “church” has changed. Being a regular attender has moved from weekly attendance to attending once or twice a month. Churches can no longer assume that young people will return to church once they start having a family. Children pursuing ministry as a vocation is no longer seen as an honor for most families. Changes like these are unsettling to the church.
Yet there is nothing new under the sun. Through history, the church has seen it all and been through it all. Yes, the church in North America is not experiencing smooth sailing, but know that the call to be and make disciples of Jesus Christ has not changed. The church of N.A. has moved from being at the centre of society in the 1950’s to today being way out on the edge of popular opinion. Truth be told, the church is at its best when it is out on the edge and not in a position of power.
The Spirit is leading CLBI to shape disciples who will be used by God to help guide the church, not back to a position of power, but to make disciples of Jesus in any cultural climate. We disciples students through a journey we call: Belong Believe and Become.
Belong – this is where we start. We lead students through experiences that help them know they belong. We want them to know that they are loved for who they are, not what they try to portray. Every Wednesday in chapel we have staff and second-year students share their testimony of how God is at work in their lives. The stories are raw and vulnerable. Yet rather than experiencing rejection, the CLBI community lavishes love onto those sharing. When you know you belong, what you can accomplish is limitless.
Believe – I love seeing students falling in love with God through His Word. Through classes, scheduled times alone with God and times around God’s Word in dorm devotions, the students experience the Holy Spirit creating a strong robust faith.
“You are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works God has planned since the foundation of the world.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Become – It is our aim at CLBI for students to become all who God created them to be. Through one-on-one and small group mentoring, we speak into student’s lives to encourage, support and challenge them to embrace God’s calling. It is a work of God to see students embracing leadership opportunities that they would have totally avoided earlier in their lives.
Through the Belong, Believe, Become journey, God is preparing young people to go out and embrace representing Jesus in a secular society. We are in foreign territory as the church, but God is with us and God is building His church and the gates of hell will not prevail against her.
I have something that I want you to pray about.
Even though students are eager to embrace God’s plan for them, it is challenging to represent Jesus without the supportive CLBI community surrounding them. This is a major growth area for CLBI going forward. How do we help transition the students out of CLBI to be able to create new supportive communities in the churches God sends them to? Join me in seeking God’s direction as to what this next chapter of CLBI’s discipleship ministry will look like. Check back for more updates on this subject.
Pastor Dean Rostad