I had planned a great lesson for the full-time students. A lesson about the work and ministry of Jesus. During the lesson we address questions about the world in which Jesus functioned and walked. What kind of people did Jesus deal with when He walked the earth? What are Pharisees, what are Saducees, what are Herodians and how do these groups relate to each other? In what ways did Jesus interact with these groups in His ministry and how did He deal with them? I love teaching such lessons and linking all kinds of applications and exercises to them. Yet I had the impression that God wanted me to do something different, something new…
I was determined by a book that I read in the past and which I really enjoyed and laughed at at the time. The booklet is called ‘The Visit’, written by Adrian Plass. The book is about a church that has received a letter that their Founder, Jesus, is coming to visit physically. The ‘I-person’ in the book is the one who is responsible for organizing the visit of Jesus in an evening service. It will be a completely different visit than planned. Jesus does very different things than expected. During the service He runs up to people, encourages them, cries with them and suddenly takes a large group of people to the pub across the street.
During class I read two chapters from the book. It is hilarious and confrontational for the students at the same time. Jesus is and often acts so differently than we think. In the Gospels too, He is often inimitable to people. God’s Kingdom is also so diametrically different from this world. Representatives of that Kingdom – who are therefore imitators of the King of that Kingdom – have the responsibility to be trained to be different. After reading both chapters, I think it would be nice to give the students an assignment about this. Not knowing how it will turn out, it is still received enthusiastically by everyone. The assignment is that every student will find a place somewhere in Drachten. That could be in a park, or a restaurant, department store, library, gym. As long as it is a place where many people come. The student sits in that spot, with pen and paper, and tries to imagine a situation where Jesus enters. What will happen, who will Jesus go to and what will He do? Each student went off alone to write a story about it on the spot.
The result was more beautiful than I could have imagined. It is so impressive to hear the made-up stories with which students come back. Jesus orders two cups of coffee and two pastries at HEMA and sits outside with a homeless man. Jesus sitting down at someone’s table and speaking words of knowledge and encouragement, and praying with tears. The similarity I see between the stories that the students read when they return is that Jesus sees the people. It is Love in person who expresses that love without shame or reserve. As we all listen to each other’s stories, everyone realizes that we are still quite far removed from what Jesus would do. We can think of it quite well…but is it practical in our lives? The Holy Spirit still has quite a bit of work to do in us, but that is also a loving process.
What will happen when Jesus physically enters somewhere? That’s a question that intrigues me. But just thinking about it remains fiction, of course. What is not fiction is the question of what happens when you and I enter a room. Jesus lives in us with His Spirit. If we allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit of Jesus, there is a chance that scenes will occur as the students described. What if a new generation arises in the church where Jesus becomes visible in this way and turns the church and its surroundings upside down? It is a deep desire of mine that the young people who attend the Full-time School are equipped in this way, even though I find it quite exciting myself. Because I also have to always ask myself the question: What if Jesus really comes into my church?!
As far as I am concerned, it is – more than ever – necessary that young people, just like us, learn to show their colours. The color that Jesus put in them. A color that manifests itself in such a way that it will shake up the church and society. I have seen the current group grow over the past year. What a privilege to discover new colors again. It also helps myself to take new steps. As Royal Mission, we want to invest in a group of young people every year through our Full-time. We want to stand next to churches and build a new generation together! These young people return to their local church, help build and transfer it.
Don’t let it
I therefore cannot resist mentioning in this blog our walk-along day on Tuesday, May 28 in Drachten. Are you someone who wants to invest a year in his formation as a follower of Jesus, alone and within a group? Do you know young people who have that desire? Introduce them to our Full-time School without obligation. We look forward to receiving you/them!