Building young adults for the sake of the Church
Based on our ministry’s key Bible verses, Ephesians 4:12 and 1 Timothy 4:12, Rogue’s mission statement can also be called our “4:12 statement”: Our mission is to not let anyone look down on our youth, but to be disciple-makers, building up disciple-makers, for the ultimate goal of building up the Body of Christ.
While the name, “Rogue,” may seem to hold a negative connotation, “going rogue” is not always a bad thing. It all depends on what you’re going rogue against. The goal of Rogue Ministries is that the young adults involved will go rogue against the low expectations that our culture has for young people, while instead doing great things for God and His Church. The general expectation society places on young adults is that they are out to “sow their wild oats,” just living for themselves. Oftentimes, not even the church seems to place much stock in young people. They are happy to have them, but don’t expect much out of them. Going rogue means to stop living for yourself and start living for Christ. Going rogue means to stop taking up space in the pews and start standing up and serving. To go rogue in the context of this ministry is to challenge young adults to really start living for Christ and serving in their local churches and communities.
In the Bible, almost every major player went rogue. The Old Testament prophets went rogue against the nation of Israel’s culture that had turned to false gods to bring them back to God. The apostles went rogue against Jewish traditions in order to stand for the gospel. You could even say that Jesus Himself went rogue in similar ways. In the 21st century, an age much like that of the Laodicean church, it can seem like we are going rogue by choosing to be on fire for Jesus rather than remaining lukewarm.
We challenge young adults to ‘Go Rogue’ through our annual Rogue conference and weekly small group meetings.
Our Rogue conferences are day-or-weekend-long events that seek to provide encouragement and fellowship. The conference is led by young adults, for young adults. However, this does not mean we are unplugged from the church. All volunteers, especially speakers, are strongly encouraged to seek council and discuss their messages and ministry opportunities with senior Christians. This is to ensure they are Biblically grounded, seeking discipleship, and seeking mentorship.
Weekly Small Groups
Our weekly small group meetings exist to create and grow friendships and carry on the ministry philosophy of Rogue. We spend time in fellowship and study Scripture together. It is not tied directly to any specific church. There are many churches represented by each attendee. We can often have a separate church represented by each individual attendee, each of whom are usually one of the few (or only) young adults within their respective churches.
THE ROGUE MODEL (BIG PICTURE)
Young adults are in desperate need of good Christian fellowship. The challenge is that individual churches often do not have many regularly attending young people. Pastors can have a hard time justifying making young adult ministry a priority because they make up such a small percentage of their church body, and they only have so much time and energy to go around. Enter the Rogue Model.
At our annual Rogue Conference, we reach out to as many young people as we can. It is ‘The Hook’. The Rogue Conference is an opportunity for young adults to make connections with Christian friends outside of their local churches and get fired up for Christ. We also promote our weekly small group and invite people to try it out. Back in the small groups, they are in an environment where they are more able to build on friendships made and concepts taught at Rogue.
Again, it is often challenging to minister specifically to the young adults in the average church, particularly because they usually make up only a small percentage of the church body. Church leaders only have so much time and energy to go around, so one of the desired outcomes of Rogue is to ease the burden of ministering to this demographic by allowing Rogue to function as a ministry tool for pastors. Church leaders can send their young adults to a Rogue group where they will have Biblically grounded teaching and fellowship with people their age but will be directed to go back and serve in their individual churches.
Further, different groups of people need to be ministered in different ways, relative to their circumstances. This is especially true for the younger generations. An efficient way for this to be done is for peers to minister to peers. One facet of Rogue is to have a place for peer leadership that is relevant and inspirational, where peers motivate each other to live well according to the gospel.
Young adults can also be noncommittal in their attendance of events such as Sunday services, especially when they don’t feel a strong sense of belonging. Many things can get in the way of going to church or staying at the same church for a long period of time, such as moving away to college or the desire for freedom. Being a part of a group of Christian peers is another story. It’s a place where they know they belong and that they always have an open invitation to come back. They are part of a group of people just like them who love and welcome them and will encourage them to be more active in Christian fellowship and disciplines.
IMPORTANCE OF GETTING PASTORS AND CHURCHES INVOLVED
For one of the main desired outcomes of Rogue to succeed, we NEED pastors on board. We want young people to ‘go rogue’ against the negative expectations given to them by the church — not against the church itself. We want people to get plugged in and serving in their local churches. Young people cannot serve if their churches are not on board with them serving.
We have a very strong desire to create unity between Rogue and the Church, but especially between young adults and their individual churches. We who are younger must be subject to the elders of our churches. As a parachurch organization, accountability is vital. We want to be held Biblically accountable for our teaching to make sure we stay grounded in the word and in sound doctrine. For this to happen, we need to have relationships with leaders and members of local church bodies. We want to be a continuously improving organization, pressing on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Rogue is designed to function as a supplement to church – a “social ministry.” We like to call ourselves a “pan-church” (for the Church) ministry rather than parachurch (alongside the Church) ministry. This means that our goal is to have everything we do at our weekly meetings and annual conference feeds directly back into the Church.
We have a very strong desire to encourage discipleship/mentorship between Rogue attendees and members of their individual churches. The Church is not designed for one generation; it is one body of many members. Rogue is NOT a church and has no intention to function as a replacement for the church. There are some key elements of a church that Rogue lacks. One of the most significant elements is the lack of elders and senior, mature Christians who can pour into attendees.
Rogue operates by having young adults ministering to their peers. To stay true to sound doctrine and maintain an effective ministry we need to make sure our leaders are being mentored by solid, mature believers. We also hope that by encouraging these relationships, we can help bridge the gap between the younger and older generations in the church and promote unity in the church.
Our long-term goal from the beginning has been for more small groups to form. God has used the original Rogue small group in some awesome ways, and it is our vision to watch Him do the same with similar groups.
THE FUTURE OF ROGUE:
In summary, the mission of Rogue is to direct young adults to Christ, encourage them in their walk with Him, and equip them for the work of ministry in the church.
Our vision is to be able to expand the reach of our ministry further around NH and New England as a whole, and that those who lead at the conference will step up as Bible study group leaders. By doing this, we will be looking past our Church culture’s idea that Christian youth are only to be ministered to. We will challenge and encourage Christian young adults to take hold of their responsibility to be the ones to minister. If this is successful, the Church will function more fully because more of its members are equipped for its ministry.