A few years ago Orange released an incredible book titled: Zombies, Football and The Gospel
that we think is so useful for any student ministry leaders.

The book gives the student ministry leader a heads up that — the game is changing. Life has shifted more dramatically in the past hundred years than it did the thousand years before. It’s altered more in the past 5 years alone than it did in the previous 50 years. What does this mean for the next 3 years? The next 10 years?

The problem is, we’re not playing a game. The stakes in the church are higher than they’ve ever been. As student ministry leaders, we risk the future of this generation if we ignore the rapid change of pace.

Reggie Joiner reminds us that the gospel is messy; Jesus stepped onto the planet and wow!  Fast forward to today—we’re witnessing an upcoming generation that doesn’t think the gospel is messy enough. Students believe the church is run more like a business that is focused inward when they want to experience ministry that reaches out to our community and world. This is a scary concept for many churches. But students want to love and care for the people around them—even if it’s a risky business to be in.

Love Your Neighbor. When Jesus gave us this command, He didn’t mean just the neighbors you like or the ones you have a lot in common with. He meant all of your neighbors—the people that think, believe, learn, and work differently than you; people who live across the street and those who live across the ocean. Jesus defined “neighbor” when He told the story of a Samaritan who helped a Jew—that was a game-changer.

Our neighbors may come from diverse backgrounds and cultures but the reality is, we also have a lot in common. We can share the love of Jesus with our neighbors simply by building bridges and relationships with them, no matter what their backgrounds.

Reggie gives us five great ways to be neighborly:

1) Be who you are

2) Don’t try to change who they are

3) Decide to be her (of his) friend, even if she (or he) never becomes a Christian

4) Respect their ideas


5) Have fun liking them.

A Few Questions To Think About:  

Why is change hard for a church to embrace?

What tangible things can your student ministry’s change for the sake of the gospel, even if it means getting messy?

How is your student ministry currently doing at being a good “neighbor?”

What specifically can your students do to love your community?

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