Developing a Heart for the World
Fewer and fewer young people are participating in the church, something that is an all too common frustration for discouraged leaders. And yet many young people are looking for ways to serve their community and the world, though seldom seeing the church as an avenue to do that. Part of the challenge for us in the church today is to be a place that encourages young adults to be globally minded and gives them ways to serve and engage the world.
At Church of God Ministries, we’re working to engage young people by giving them opportunities to explore their call and engage their world. We believe that young people who develop a heart for the world are more likely to stay connected to churches that participate in global ministry. One avenue for doing this is a missions experience called A.One.8.
A.One.8 is a two-week discipleship training experience designed to connect late high school and early college students with cross-cultural learning and ministry engagement. The name comes from Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (NIV). Students spend time at the h.e.a.r.t. (Hunger Education And Resource Training) center and Warner University in central Florida learning about current themes in global cross-cultural ministry. After gaining a foundation for ministry, students spend a week living and serving alongside the Church of God outside of the United States. They learn firsthand about the important work happening globally and can explore their passion for God’s world.
In 2017, students served alongside the Church of God in the Dominican Republic, under the leadership of Pastor Juan Santos (2019 Convention speaker). Reflecting on the experience, one student wrote, “I experienced the type of community my heart longed for.” Another student wrote, “I learned about how God called people into their uncertainty and anxiety and made something beautiful out of it…. Engaging your world is just a door away and that’s something I never would have understood before this trip.”
We know how important these kinds of experiences are for students in their faith journey and we wanted to make the experience accessible for as many students as possible. That’s why this year, for the first time, we are connecting A.One.8 with IYC, allowing students to travel to Orlando for IYC and then immediately begin their A.One.8 experience. Though IYC is not a requirement, it is a great springboard for the A.One.8 experience. If you know a student who would be impacted by this type of experience, encourage them to sign up today for this opportunity!
A.One.8 is designed for students who are age sixteen or older, and/or at least juniors in high school. A.One.8 is a competitive opportunity, with an application and interview process. Interested students may apply at www.jesusisthesubject.org/a-one-8/.