Our God is relational and desires to encounter His children! Through encounters, He passionately reveals His nature to us and transforms us into His likeness. Though He knows our weaknesses, He doesn’t overlook us because of them. Instead, He meets us, touches us, and makes what was weak strong. In His presence, our minds are renewed by His truth, our wounds are healed through His love, and our impossibilities become possible through His power!
God is ready to powerfully encounter the students in your school of supernatural ministry. He desires to reveal His love and set them free. Knowledge alone won’t draw them into alignment with their identities, but intimate encounters with His Spirit will bring them into His righteousness (2 Corinthians 3:1-6, 18).
Below are five helpful tips to help you lead your students into encounters with God. As you lead, remember that your students are made to experience God’s manifest presence and reveal His glory upon the earth (Ephesians 1:11-12). God is going to radically transform them as you invite His Spirit!
1. Share Stories from Heroes of the Faith
There is much to be learned from the heroes of the faith. John Wesley led the First Great Awakening after an encounter with God’s love that forever changed him. Charles Finney, known as the father of modern revivalism, led a movement that altered history after a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit. Heidi Baker, a missionary to Mozambique, planted thousands of churches after experiencing God’s heart for the African nation she serves.
Indeed, encounters with God have truly changed the course of history! They have ignited revivalists to carry out the purposes of God upon the earth. In Defining Moments, Bill Johnson wrote,
Here is the remarkable truth about each of these individuals: not one of them was unusually gifted from such a task. Their gift was God Himself. All of our heroes of the faith were pretty normal people. But that changed when the touch of God upon their lives transformed everything. (page 9)
As you lead your students, we encourage you to share the stories of men and women of the faith whose hunger and devotion to God attracted life-altering encounters with His Spirit. Their testimonies prophesy and release God’s anointing to touch your students, that they would be set aflame to reveal His kingdom upon the earth. Perhaps you have the next John Wesley, Charles Finney, or Heidi Baker in your school? Share these stories to ignite their hunger for the more!
2. Impart Your Personal History with God
Just like the testimonies of John Wesley, Charles Finney, and Heidi Baker, you have experiences of encountering God that can impart breakthrough to your students! We encourage you to freely share the revelation and manifestation of His love in your own life. These stories may even hold the keys to their freedom and destinies.
As a spiritual father or mother to your students, God has given you authority and favor to lead them into their callings as revivalists! He has commissioned you to champion them while they grow. In a blog post titled The Value of Father’s and Mother’s, Bernie Ooley (BSSM Bible instructor and a founding staff member) shared a surprising discovery from BSSM student feedback. Their responses revealed that while they valued hearing from guest speakers, they most appreciated hearing from fathers and mothers of the house. Here’s what Bernie further shared about this finding:
As much as [our students] loved and appreciated all the wonderful guests we brought in, it seemed the input they valued the most was that from the mothers and fathers of the house. Bill and Kris of course, but also the instructors and revival group leaders and pastors – those who weren’t necessarily famous, but were definitely family. We realized that no one can reach and minister to them on the level of those who do life with them.
Pastor Bill shares a beautiful truth from Philippians 1:7, where Paul is encouraging his friends and covenant partners, stating that they are partakers of grace along with him. Bill teaches that when people are in your heart, they become partakers of your grace. There is a very real, dynamic exchange of life and an impartation of grace between you as a leader, a mother or father in the faith, and those God has entrusted to you, be it your students or your congregation. No one can hold the place in their life that you do.
We encourage you to share your journey with the Lord and how you have experienced the fruit of His presence. It is more valuable to your students than you may think!
3. Invite the Holy Spirit
Before you lead your students into encounters with God, we encourage you to spend time with the Holy Spirit. Become richly saturated in His love and ask Him how He wants to encounter your students that day. Does He want to reveal more about their identities, heal their bodies, restore their families, or perhaps reveal their callings? Ask Him how you can partner with Him. Take some time to pray into what He shows and trust that when you invite Him to powerfully move, He will!
Also, remember that it is not your job to transform your students. That’s Holy Spirit’s job! It can be easy to believe the pressure is on you to meet their spiritual needs. However, He just needs the invitation to come and touch those who are hungry for Him. As your students’ leader, you get to experience the joy of inviting Him to come into your school. You can’t get it wrong if you set your heart towards Him.
4. Set Expectations for Encounters
In a recent School Leaders Revival Chat, Mark Brookes and Brandon Rice shared how to build school culture around the presence of God. They explained how they lead students into encounters with God and how important it is to manage expectations in those moments. Some students can often feel like they didn’t experience God because they didn’t clearly hear Him or feel His presence. They have specific expectations of how an encounter should look and feel, which can often lead to disappointment.
As you lead students into encounters, we encourage you to teach them that expectancy is posturing their hearts with the belief that He will meet them, even if they don’t know what it will look like. Encounters are designed to lead them into deeper connection with God. Just like building a relationship with a person, it takes time to get to know the Lord and develop intimacy with Him. Encourage your students to enjoy the journey! Let them know that He longs to draw near to them and give them permission to let their experiences with Him be unique, taking off the pressure for them to look a certain way. To read more about what Mark and Brandon shared during the Revival Chat, visit this blog post.
5. Use Tools that Spark Encounters
In God’s presence, the veil is removed and students experience grace that sets them free from anything that hinders the full expression of God’s love (2 Corinthians 3:16). To provide space for your students to intimately encounter God, we encourage you to use these activation tools individually and corporately:
- Journal: Create space for your students to journal and hear God’s voice. Provide prompt questions to guide them and ask them to share what they heard or experienced in small groups. You can also encourage them to journal outside of class. As they seek Him, they will surely find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).
- Worship: The Bible says that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). When you create space to worship the Lord, you invite His Presence to rest upon your school and encounter your students! He cannot resist the love and devotion being poured out by His sons and daughters. He will respond with love!
- Soaking: Lead your students through a soaking session and encourage them to practice this tool on their own. Soaking is a powerful way to invite God’s Spirit to minister, bringing refreshment and truth. When we wait upon the Lord in this way, our strength will be renewed (Isaiah 40:31).
- Speaking in Tongues: God has given us each a heavenly language to strengthen our spirit, to align us with the purposes of heaven, and to even shift atmospheres. Lead your students through this spiritual gift and encourage them to become aware of God’s presence. This is a tool they can use to tap into His Spirit for the rest of their lives.
- Meditation on Scripture: The Word of God is living and active, cutting through lies and revealing truth to those who seek it (Hebrews 4:12)! Encourage your students to meditate upon the spiritual truths found in Scripture that reveal His nature and promises. As they study the Word, they will encounter truth that sets them free.
As you lead your school, remember that transformed people transform people! Never lose sight of the importance of seeking and encountering the Lord in your own life. Your personal breakthroughs will be a source of freedom to your students! Also, we encourage you to freely share your passion and hunger to pursue and experience the Lord’s heart. It is contagious and will fuel the fire in their hearts to experience God’s presence in greater measures.
Look out for additional blog posts that will help you lead your students into more encounters with God!
Here are some more resources on encounters with God: