In 2008, a mega church in San Antonio took a bold step in a new direction, to begin the journey of seeing the presence of Christ in every community in San Antonio. The vision would mean that the 10,000 plus people attending services each week would not be viewed as the bench mark for ‘success’. Nor would the church settle only for increased attendance or a larger facility as a ministry goal, but the church would begin to measure the success by mission based activity being displayed amongst the members of the congregation in their own home, neighborhood and wider community.
In an effort to equip students for the mission at hand, the Senior minister and Director of Student Ministries invited the Pais Project to establish their first pilot team just outside of San Antonio to begin the road of discovering how students could be even better equipped to share their faith in their own spheres of influence, and to become servants in their schools and communities.
12 months of collaboration between the student ministry staff and the Pais leadership, resulted in a new and defined strategy for motivating students to become the presence of Christ to others. Through discussion between the director of student ministry, senior minister and Pais hub director, program events were cut and new ones were added, efforts to give opportunity for outreach and mission were increased, and a new kind of training was established.
In the three years to follow, the church adopted twenty five Pais apprentices serving in local High Schools, resulting in thousands of connections with students. Life lessons have been taught and God’s love has been shared.
Some students have been baptized and others motivated to live a life of mission in San Antonio and beyond, with one student even making intentional plans to move into one of the poorest countries in the world to be a missionary to orphaned kids.
The fruitful season that is being experienced in San Antonio, in light of the power and grace of God, has been much to do with the intentional relationships and like-mindedness between both Pais apprentices and the church staff. Pais does not work as a ‘lone ranger’, but as a ‘slice of the pie’. The church has been and continues to be an intentional place to connect students to belong to and to grow, and our Pais teams have contributed accountability and support as we equip students to serve through mentoring and bible study.
The growth in and through the high school students can only fully be contributed to the combined faithfulness of the church and Pais apprentices, with a unified vision to see missionaries made in San Antonio and beyond.