Jon was in his fourth year of university studies in Criminal Justice. By October, he wondered about graduation in the spring and whether he had picked the right career path. He had grown up in a Christian home but wasn’t too active in worship while at school. He prayed, “God, if you’re real, show me, and show some direction for my life.”
Jon inquired about a 10-month training program focused on discipleship and mission. One year later, he was ministering to homeless people. Fast forward one year. Jon was working for a church as a church planter.

My First Glimpse

I first became aware of the growing fervor of Christianity on university campuses from the book The Blueprint by Jaeson Ma. The book hinted at a growing movement among young adults who expressed a serious, discipleship and missionary form of Christianity.

Research Around North American Campuses

A second glimpse has been provided by research conducted by my colleagues among those working in campus ministries: Campus Crusade, Navigators, etc. That led me to my conversation with Brad, a Campus Crusade worker at a midwest university. In his seventh year, Brad works on a midsize campus with his wife and an intern. I asked Brad, “What happens when students graduate?” I was thinking of about Jon. Brad said, “I would support the evidence that young adults are responding to authentic Christianity. Some are non-Christians who are searching, others come from institutional Christianity, but want to go deeper.” He continued speaking about graduation: “Some end up working for Crusade – but we can’t use them all.” He replied. “It’s a tough part of campus ministry. The students are gone. Some really want to go deeper, have some intensive discipleship training. But they’re not ready to enroll in a four-year seminary or Bible college.”

I told him about a new movement, SEND North America. “SEND stands for Servants Equipping New Disciples,” I said. It’s a 10-month discipleship training that includes teaching, living in community (12 to 25 students), and hands-on ministry experience, and high accountability, but not controlling.”

Brad got excited: “I should know more about that. I’m thinking about Mel. He’s a sharp student,  graduating this spring. He wants to be discipled further in his faith. I’m losing him after he graduates. I would love to refer him to SEND North America.”

After Graduation

SEND North America is the next-step opportunity for students to want to go deeper with Christianity and learn hands-on ministry. Exposed to all sorts of ministry, they discover God’s plan for their lives. It begins in September and ends in June. It includes teaching, living in community, practicing Christianity, and serving in a wide variety of ministry settings. Each month the students participate in a weekend mission excursion. The group takes an overseas mission trip for two weeks. At the end of the training, they have the opportunity to take a second-year of training to become a SEND leader, deployed to a church. They receive a paid position to be on staff to lead a SEND Unit. Others will return to their careers and be great church members the rest of their lives. Others may become missionaries, church planters, youth ministers, children’s workers, or work in community social outreach ministries.

Brad liked what he heard. “You’ve given me another option for guys like Mel. I’d like him to check it out, before he graduates, and I lose touch with him.”

Could God be raising up an army of young adults who could be trained to missionaries to their own country? What do you think?

What is your experience? Do you know young adults who want to go deeper in discipleship after they finish college?

Written by Church Doctor Ministries Founder, and SEND North America Architect, Kent R. Hunter.