The Cost of Missionless Students

By Doug Franklin November 30, 2017

Missionless students will likely remain on the fringes of the church never to engage with God’s world or participate in Kingdom work. As youth workers, it’s our job to explain to students the mystery of how God uses His people to carry out His will on earth, and the best way to connect them to a life of service for God is to show them how they are uniquely made for an important role in God’s Kingdom.  

Before we can help them discover their God-given mission, we need to first challenge students’ worldview. Students tend to see the world as revolving around them, but when they are exposed to realities of this world—injustice, poverty, AIDS, slavery, and lack of clean water—they have a greater desire to serve and take risks for God. They begin to ask themselves, “What is God doing in this world, and what part do I play in it?” Once students ask this question, we have an open door to teach them about how their wiring points them to God’s mission for their lives.

“When students discover their burden, their passion, and God’s vision, they will have a roadmap for the mission God has for them.”

When teaching this concept to students, I like to use this formula:

Burden + Passion + Vision = Mission

When students discover these three things, they will have a roadmap for the mission God has for them. To be clear, the discovery of your burden, passion, and vision will only give you clues to the ultimate mission God has for you. It’s not a silver bullet, but it will point your students in the right direction and give them greater clarity. 


Simply put, a burden is something that breaks your heart. Many times during the week, I will hear of some great tragedy in the world and think, “Lord, when will it end?” But then I continue going 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. My burden is for students, and my heart breaks when I am confronted with students who miss the best that God has for them. We need to help students discover what it is that burdens them in such a way that they, too, want to spring into action. 


Passion is what you love to do. It’s what gets you up in the morning.  It’s where you feel closest to God and where you sense that He is most pleased with you. My passion is discipleship of students. I feel closest to God when I am sitting in a circle of students and teaching them how to use a prayer journal or a new Bible study method. Students can be passionate about any number of things, and LeaderTreks has created a Passion Survey to aid their discovery.


Vision is what God is telling you to do, and we come to understand God’s vision through prayer. Only when we get our eyes off ourselves and focus our attention on God will we discern His will for our lives. I encourage students to have a prayer journal to both write out prayers and to see how God is answering them. Those answers are a great indication of God’s vision for their lives.


When students put burden, passion, and vision together, they will not only discover their mission, they will also find great joy. Students often ask me, “What happens if I hate the mission God has for me?” I share with them that this formula tells us that we will always love the mission God has for us because it includes our passion.

The truth is that when God wants to do something great, He sends a baby into the world to do it. Your students are those babies, and God has given them everything they need to accomplish the tasks He has planned for them. Prepare them for that mission by helping them discover what breaks their heart, what they are passionate about, and what God is telling them to do. After all, that is our mission.

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