An in-depth introduction to life purpose
Posted by Grace Beckett | Published September 18, 2017
Every Monday and Thursday evening this past summer, five young adults gathered with a group from the Ames-Des Moines CityChurch to soak up knowledge and mature in their faith. These individuals were a part of our network’s summer program, Immerse, which is designed to help young adults prepare for life by building strong, biblical foundations. The wisdom they gain will serve not only them, but, as members of our church, our entire CityChurch network. Randy Beckett (my dad!), who leads Immerse, says, “Their growth will make a significant contribution to the strength of this church network.”
Immerse is made up of several different parts. First there are the BILD courses: Acts and Pauline Epistles. These courses give the students a solid understanding of the workings of the first century church. Acts looks at the establishment and expansion of the First Century church, examining the way that the Great Commission unfolded within the first century context. Pauline examines the letters of Paul, identifying key strategies for establishing churches. Together these courses build a foundation that will serve the students for the rest of their lives, enabling them to better contribute to the establishment and expansion of our church network.
A second part of Immerse is Lifen. Most of the students who go through Immerse are in, or nearing, a major transition period in their lives. Some have just graduated high school and are wondering what to do next, others are in the midst of college thinking about future jobs. Lifen is a tool that helps these students figure out their primary purpose is in life, and tangible strategies they can use to accomplish this purpose. This tool enables students to create a comprehensive plan of how they can use their gifts and abilities to contribute to their immediate, local, and global communities.
A third major element of Immerse is mentorship. Each student is assigned an older and younger mentor to meet with during the summer. These mentors are a great source of practical, real-life wisdom for the students learn from over the summer. According Peter Boman, one of the students who went through Immerse, “The mentor experience has been extremely valuable so far. It’s been especially good to have the difference with older and younger mentors, each of them has something different to offer.” Mentors give students somebody to talk to and establish practical goals with over the course of the summer. They create an extra level of accountability and help students apply what they are learning to their everyday interaction within the church community.
A number of exciting realizations have come out of these course this summer. Nate Peterson says that the Acts course caused him to rethink the way he views missions. He has come the realization that the expansion of the gospel should be carried out through the local church, as opposed to sending in individual missionaries. According to him the course has resulted in, “a complete paradigm shift.” Peter came to a better understanding of what leadership should look like within a church. “I found the Acts example of leadership very compelling. Rather than asking for any volunteer or searching for someone to hire, the first century church chose mature, qualified leaders to shepherd them.” And all of the students have made use of Lifen to begin outlining some tangible goals around their involvement in the CityChurch Network.
Immerse 2017 concluded in late August but it has left a lasting impact within the lives of these students. One student, Elijah Bouwman, reflected that, “It gave me a personal foundation of work done in the scripture and in my own life that will now allow me to defend and talk knowledgeably about the first century church and the principles that still guide us in the twenty-first century.” Reflecting on his time, Peter commented that, “It was great to be taught and learn from those who have lived out the principles of Lifen. The chance to go deep into the scripture and study more focusedly has been something I have been looking for since I became a Christian.” All the work that these students have done, and the time invested in teaching them, will now in turn contribute to the strength of our whole church network. The foundation that they have gained will serve both them and the church for the rest of their lives.