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youth worker, youth ministry, mission, student ministry

How to discover your mission

By Doug Franklin August 11, 2009

Once students discover that God has a mission for their lives, the next question is “how do I know what my mission is?” I use this formula to explain how to discover your mission: Burden + Passion + Vision = Mission. I believe that these three things are breadcrumbs that give us clues to the mission that God has for us. Students often ask, “What happens if I hate the mission God has for me?” This is the great thing about God—this formula tells us that because passion is part of the formula we know that we will always love the mission God has for us.

This is how I teach this formula:

Burden
Burden is what breaks your heart. Many times during the week, I will hear of some great tragedy in the world, and I think, “Lord when will it end” and then go about my day. But, when I hear about a tragedy that involves students, often I will feel led to pray, cry or do something tangible to help in the situation. The reason is that I have a burden for students; my heart breaks when I am confronted with students that miss God’s best.
Of the three parts of this formula, burden is the easiest to determine. Students can understand it and often times they will have a burden for their peers. This is understandable and to be encouraged. For many youth pastors, our burden for students started when we were in high school and never ended. Mission trips are also a great place for students to begin to understand their burden.

Passion
Passion is whatever you love to do.
John Maxwell teaches it like this: If you had a million dollars, you would do what? The answer is your passion. I would spend the million dollars expanding what LeaderTreks is doing in the lives of students. I also like to ask this: in what activity do you feel God’s pleasure on your life? My passion is discipleship of students. I feel closest to God when I am sitting in a circle of students, teaching them how to use a prayer journal or a new Bible study method. I feel God’s pleasure on me when I am in that circle. I love feeling God smile down on me.

Vision
Vision is knowing where you are going.
Vision is what happens after you get past “me.” Most people don’t have a vision because they are blocking their own view. God will give you a vision when you get your eyes off yourself and get them on Him. If you want to find God’s vision for your life, sit before Him and ask; make it a regular part of your prayer time.

Mission
Mission is burden + passion + vision.
How many Christians hate what they are doing or are still looking for the life of joy everyone at church keeps talking about? Students know people like this; some may even be their parents. Help them see the importance of this formula and how they fit into the kingdom of God. Help them understand that God’s plan for them is great joy. When students put burden, passion and vision together they will not only discover their mission, but also joy.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More