through two lenses: a teaching approach

I shared the other day about having the chance to teach some students last weekend about seeing themselves as true “missionaries to their own campuses.” But how we got there in the context of this particular retreat is kind of interesting.

The focus of the weekend wasn’t simply encouraging these guys and gals to impact others. Instead, I started with a focus on students’ own walks with Jesus (in the first couple of messages). Then, I turned the corner in the final message, looking at how they might minister on their campuses. We called the overall theme, “Satisfied and Sent.”

The interesting thing? I used the same entire passage for each side of that theme! We camped out the whole weekend in Isaiah 55 – working through the entire chapter in the first two messages, then walking back through the entire passage once more in the final session.

If you check out that passage, you might notice how it could fit both the “finding satisfaction in the Lord” and “helping others find satisfaction in the Lord” topics. All I really did was have students – who (hopefully) had been impacted by Isaiah 55 in the first 24 hours – put on their “ministry glasses” when we viewed it again.

Suddenly, the great invitation of verses 1 and 2 became an invitation they can offer others.

The revelation of a God who can raise up David as a “witness,” “leader,” and “commander” became personally encouraging for those hoping He’d lift them up to impact, too.

The vital idea that God has heavens-higher ways and thoughts became instructive not simply for personal walks – but through the lens of a ministry calling, it helped them realize God may call us to places and methods that don’t “fit” our personalities or our plans.

And with ministry glasses on, the revelation of a God whose word (in Isaiah 55, it means his promises, commands, etc.) won’t return void reminded them that obedience to God’s sending command is guaranteed to bear the fruit He intends.

By exploring Isaiah 55’s specific applications for impacting others – after first examining the applications for personal spiritual journeys – students had the chance to do what we college ministers do all the time. If you want to raise up your students to serve as a true type of college minister now, then helping them read the Bible through the lens of that calling can be a great start!


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