By Becca Stavert | October 15, 2020

In the past few years, we’ve noticed that our students struggle throughout Jr High with equating knowing about God with knowing God, and with having a relationship with Him. Students would woefully admit that following Jesus made sense when they were in their small groups, at summer camp or listening to a sermon, but as soon as they got home they felt lost. Even if they knew that a relationship with Jesus begins and grows through reading Scripture and praying, those two tasks seemed too confusing, difficult or boring to really engage in – even if they desperately craved deep connection with Jesus. The season of disruption and slowing down that the beginning of 2020 provided allowed us to sit with God, hold up our student’s hearts and needs, and ask for His guidance for how to faithfully make disciples of our students in ways only He could truly discern.

Out of this came Fieldwork – our path towards discipleship that all JHM is walking on this year. Fieldwork is defined as “practical work conducted by a researcher in the natural environment, rather than in a controlled setting.” This is how we want to equip our students – to be able to take their faith from the comfort of their small group or church seat and out into the wilds of their lives. Fieldwork is a set of simple tools to study Scripture, pray and take their faith into action to which will be taught while at JHM, and more importantly used and experimented with while out in the worlds they inhabit. The main goals are to practice being with Jesus, becoming like Jesus, and following Jesus’ example of loving others. A simple roadmap with room to explore what it looks like to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength,” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Last Wednesday night we placed Fieldwork boxes into the hands of our Jr High students. We challenged our students to take a hold of those boxes and the discipleship tools inside of them like they were taking a hold of their own walks with God. We didn’t give the boxes to their parents, we didn’t just give the boxes to their small group leaders – we handed the boxes directly to them, entrusting their own choice to take steps forward on the everlasting path towards discipleship under Jesus. We ended our time praying over and, in a way, commissioning these students into their journey towards Christian adulthood. While we are excited and believe in this program and these simple tools, God is the one who makes disciples out of our students, and prayer is our main force in loving and committing these students to Christ. Church family, more than ever will you pray for our students? Pray today and every day that God will shepherd and shape these future adults, that they will look and sound more like Him and that they will never stop growing up in Christ.

Becca Stavert