Southern Baptist leaders challenged college students and young adults to use their first years out of college to serve on mission by helping missionaries in strategic locations throughout the world during a GO2 webinar July 23.
The event was hosted by J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and president of the Southern Baptist Convention, in conjunction with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the International Mission Board (IMB).
“GO2 is specifically for young adults who want to continue to live on mission after they graduate,” Greear said. “It’s an opportunity for you to build community in a strategic location, whether that’s domestic in the United States or abroad, while leveraging your skills and sharing the hope of the gospel.”
The webinar also featured Dhati Lewis, vice president of NAMB’s Send Network church planting arm. A panel featured a mobilizer with the IMB and two recent college graduates. Following the main session, NAMB and IMB leaders hosted virtual breakout sessions.
Lewis said college students often find themselves with the flexibility to travel and go to the mission field in North America and around the world. But he added that many students as well as many Christians in general, do not think about how their careers can open doors for the gospel.
“When we are ‘living sent’ here at home or overseas, we go in with a missionary mindset,” Lewis said. “Somehow, when we transition from college to career, we don’t think with a ‘sent’ mentality. That’s the reason the Bible says, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.’ It’s because we don’t have that ‘sent’ mentality.”
Both Greear and Lewis pointed to the civil unrest and uncertainty in North America and around the world as an opportunity for the eternal hope of the gospel to be heard. Greear pointed to the martyrdom of Stephen in Acts 7 as a time where early Christians traveled the world, taking the gospel with them as they went.
“We’re clearly in a moment where God is on the move,” Greear said. “The issues we are facing are real, but so is the Great Commission, and so are the promises of God.”
During the panel discussion, Sarah Farley, an IMB mobilizer, said it is important for collegiate leaders to get involved with GO2.
“What I love about GO2 is that it creates culture. It is not a program. It is a culture creator. You’re creating a culture for students so that they can go,” Farley said. “As a campus minister and a collegiate leader, you feel isolated, like you’re operating in a vacuum or a silo. What I love is this is the idea of us doing something together. You have the backing of our missions organizations and our denomination to resource you.”
For those looking to do GO2 in North America, the primary goal is for college graduates to find jobs in cities where a gospel witness is desperately needed.
“We want to help young adults take their next missional step by choosing to start their career in a strategic place for the sake of the gospel,” said Dithson Noel, a NAMB church planting mobilizer who hosted a breakout session. “When you spend your first two working years in a place where a church is being planted, you can play a significant role in advancing the gospel and supporting church growth.”
With the IMB, the primary aim of GO2 is to direct recent college graduates to their Journeyman program, a two-year stint that provides participants with a salary, housing, transportation and benefits.
“Young adults serving as Journeyman bring a fresh skillset after completing their degree that plays a role in both the day-to-day team strategy of our full-time field personnel as well as a fresh energy that serves as a much-needed encouragement to the team as a whole,” said Casey Grooms, an IMB student strategist who hosted a breakout session during the webinar. “We are excited for the ways that many of the students who attended [Thursday’s] event will be crossing international waters to play a part taking the Gospel to those who have never heard the name of Jesus.”
Greear concluded the main session of the webinar by sharing a message that he often tells his congregation at The Summit Church, “Put your yes on the table, and let God put it on the map.”
To learn more about or register for GO2, visit GO2years.net.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Brandon Elrod writes for the North American Mission Board.)