College student ministries can provide a fruitful climate for spiritual growth, outreach, and practice for making disciples. But what happens when students graduate and are tossed headlong into the “real world”?
After active involvement in a Navigator ministry in college, Tim and Bethany Jordahl were grieved to see many of their friends lose their vision for disciplemaking or even walk away from Jesus entirely. When Tim joined Navigators Collegiate staff, he was determined to prepare students holistically to launch successfully into the workforce. Part of his plan involves a new kind of Summer Training Program rolled out last summer in Denver with six college men.
Navigators Summer Training Programs bring students together to grow in Christ, make Him known, and help others do the same®. Tim built on that foundation to design a program specifically aimed at preparing students for life after college and for the workplace. He brainstormed with other staff what that might look like.
Giving College Students a Taste of Adulting
The result was an experience designed to give the students a taste of life beyond college.
Here is a snapshot of how the The Navigators Summer Training Program worked:
- Students were required to work at a job or internship 35 hours a week, plus serve in a church.
- They lived separately and were responsible to cook, clean, and do laundry for themselves. (If they lived at home, no help from Mom!)
- They met on Tuesday evenings to hear a speaker and on Sunday afternoons for more teaching and Bible study.
- Each called a prayer partner every night to review memory verses, pray for coworkers, and talk about how they were applying what they had learned that week.
- They committed to intentional Life-to-Life® discipleship training with a Navigator every two weeks.
- Sundays were reserved for rest and fellowship with the rest of the group.
Outside speakers from diverse Christian backgrounds talked to the students about finding their life’s purpose and calling, prioritizing their relationship with Christ, finding community, engaging in workplace evangelism, practicing Sabbath, and even being a good neighbor. All the topics were contextualized to apply to the workplace.
“Part of the vision is that they learn how to live everyday life as an adult after college,” Tim says. He wanted them to see all the demands that would be made on their time while working full time and practice making good decisions. “One of the biggest takeaways was how hard it is to manage a work schedule and life schedule,” he reports. They were grateful for the “realistic, holistic picture of life after college.”
Tim was encouraged to see the impact on the young men’s lives.
As the program concluded, one participant reported that he had seen “how important prayer is if you’re going to be missional in the workplace.”
Another realized he’d been “waiting for the workday to end so that my day could actually begin, but God wants my day to start as soon as I wake up.”
One said he was encouraged to realize the Holy Spirit would lead him at work—both in his tasks and his conversations with coworkers. One man even concluded, “I have learned and grown more in the last two months than I have in the last three years!”
Tim plans to repeat the program this summer with more participants and hopes to eventually expand to other cities.
As the programs evolve, Tim says the hope will remain the same: “to help students come away understanding what it can look like to know Christ, make Him known, and help others do the same no matter where they are in life.”
Life Lessons Learned from Navigators Summer Training Program
Andrew Peterson, a recent graduate in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado in Boulder, shares a few of the life lessons he gained from The Navigators Summer Training Program.
- As the pace of life increases, it is crucial to say no to some things so that you can slow down, rest, spend time with God, and let His grace fill in the cracks.
- When I was tempted to put my identity in something [besides Christ], like my performance or ability to please others, I learned to remind myself, “I am thankful that my identity is not who people think I am, but who God says I am in what Christ did for me on the cross.”
- “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” Colossians 3:23 (ESV). When I did not want to take on a task because I knew it would be hard or because I felt inadequate, I remembered the call to work heartily for the Lord and trusted that He would provide what I need to complete it.
- I learned the importance of remembering the Sabbath. Taking a day to rest and be refreshed sustains me through the other six days.
- I understand God’s heart for my work—that He has greater purposes for my engineering work than I could ever imagine.
Discipleship Tip:Ask a friend if they would like to join you in praying for coworkers and share what they are reading and learning from in God’s Word.
I’m Interested in a Navigators Summer Training Program!
The Navigators Summer Training Program (STP) offered six college students the opportunity to build community, be discipled, and grow to be lifelong disciplemakers in the workforce. Maybe you or a college student you know would benefit from this type of opportunity. Click the link below for more information about participating in a Navigators STP and the locations offered.