by Kristen Camp
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) — Abby Hughes is one of two campus mobilizers in the Northwest taking on the responsibility to find other college students to venture to New York City for 10 weeks this summer.
“I have been working alongside my church as well as reaching out to pastors around the Northwest to connect with students who could potentially take part in GenSend,” Hughes said of the Generation Send initiative of the North American Mission Board.
GenSend is a student missionary development process that immerses collegians in an urban context to gain practical knowledge of the realities of missions and leadership.
NAMB conducted its first mobilizer training for 41 students, including Hughes, in Atlanta last September. A second weekend training was held in January. The sessions are designed to equip students to create missional communities with other students on their college campuses and invite them students to serve in a major city in North America with a GenSend team this summer.
Hughes, who will lead a team in New York City, said one of the most important things she learned at the mobilizer training was how to be intentional with her time and her relationships. Hughes has seen several students commit to missions this summer and several more have joined her missional community group.
Members of NAMB’s student mobilization staff joined other speakers at the mobilizer trainings to share the vision for GenSend and urban church planting. The speakers also walked the students through practical instruction to fulfill their assignments in the unique intense initiative.
“One of the most helpful and beneficial parts of the mobilizer training for me was having all of the practical questions answered,” said Hughes, a sophomore at Washington State University. “I was given clarity on what steps to take going forward as a mobilizer as well as how to leverage the personalities on my team for Christ and the mission He has given us for the summer.”
Dhati Lewis, lead pastor of Atlanta’s Blue Print Church, emphasized the importance of contextualization during his session on urban church planting.
“There are four things to consider in contextualization,” Lewis said. “The Gospel must be contextualized. We can’t put our confidence in our own ability to contextualize. We should contextualize with a sense of urgency. And we should remember that the goal of contextualization is reconciliation.”
For mobilizers like Hughes, contextualization will be key. The approach she took participating in GenSend Portland last summer will be different as she leads her team to contextualize the Gospel in New York this summer.
“College ministry looks so different in the Northwest,” Hughes said. “But the beauty of the Gospel is that it is transferable everywhere and accessible to everyone. Like Dhati said, we have to contextualize the Gospel into each person’s ‘heart language.'”
Mobilizers are recruiting 10 students from their missional communities this spring to serve in their assigned cities and continue to share the Gospel. NAMB’s goal for GenSend 2015 is to have more than 350 students serving in 16 Send North America cities across the United States and Canada from June 22 to Aug. 5.
The number of teams per city will vary. But at least one team will serve and connect with a Southern Baptist church in each of the following cities: Atlanta, Miami, Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, Portland, San Diego, Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton.
Ken Miller, NAMB’s missionary development coordinator, encouraged the students to keep the right mindset during a session on missional community. “Don’t go into the city with the attitude that this is your team,” he said. “You need to have the attitude that you are here to serve them and love them, as well as serve your city alongside them.”
These words definitely stuck with Hughes as she left Atlanta and went back to her campus as a campus mobilizer.
“I’m so excited that I have the opportunity to spend 10 weeks in a major urban city with the sole purpose of loving and serving people in the name of Jesus,” Hughes said. “I am excited to be humbled and challenged alongside my team and see how the Lord moves this summer.”
Kristen Camp writes for the North American Mission Board.
Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com).
Baptist Press (BP) is the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention and provides news to the 42 state Baptist papers. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.