An interview with 20s Mission Director, Joe Maschhoff

Twice a year, the leaders of the 20s Mission in the US gather to pray and assess the progress of the Mission. The most recent gathering was last week, and I took the opportunity to chat with the national director of 20s Mission, Joe Maschhoff. Joe and his wife Joy have 3 children, and have been with the Navigators for a long time. They are respected leaders and laborers.

How many years have you been with the navs? How long with 20s, and how did you get into 20s? 

I have been strongly involved in the Navigator Vision (as a laborer and as a staff) for 21 years.  I have been on staff for 15 of them.  I was a college student for 4 of them, seeking to live and disciple among the lost and later was in the business world for 2 years, seeking to live and disciple among the lost with my peers.  All stages have been so rewarding!  I love participating in what the Lord has called the Navigators to.  I was asked to lead the 20s work in early 2009 and started that summer.

Why 20s? Is this a strategic group of people to be ministering to?

The 20s are vital in the advance of the Gospel.  The sheer number of them…  30-40 million of them!  Also, that decade is at the cutting edge of change: culture, technology, ways of looking at life, careers, relationships, life purpose, etc.  They are often the forgotten people by many parts of the Body of Christ.  I find that very few are focusing on the 20s for the sake of the Gospel.  In Acts 8 we see that a key to the Gospel advancing was a “scattering” that took place.  The 20s are either scatttering or about to!

When you travel to various cities and ministries, what is the spiritual landscape among young adults?

I find that there is great openness to authentic and transformational spirituality.  People want what is real.  Marketing, nice words, and cool illustrations have limited appeal.  People want real love and real change.  Thankfully, that is exactly what Jesus is all about.

A Pew Research survey recently reported that the “religiously unaffiliated” in America is a bigger group than ever, especially among young people. How does this growing indifference to religion in general affect the approach of the 20s Mission?

It is one of those factors that, on the surface, can look negative.  But really it can become a positive!  We don’t approach people to “get them to do our thing” or “come to our event” as much as we want to help them live in the fullness that God intended.  I find that this approach helps us get in the door with people that normally won’t listen to the organized religion message.

What’s your vision for 20s Mission five or seven years from now?

I see us having networks, teams, communities, and “pockets” of laborers in cities all across our country.  How connected they are will vary depending on geography, job demands, family demands, etc.  However, there will be some level of connectivity between the various forms in our cities.  I think God wants us to trust Him to be in about 30 of our cities in 5 years.

What is the responsibility of the average Christian for discipleship? Is it really something everyone should be involved in, or just people who are gifted for it?

In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus told His disciples to “make disciples”.  He did not tell them to “make converts”.  Converts are a means to the end of disciples, but not the end.  Discipleship is everyone’s business.

Is 20s Mission a church small group? If not, how is it different?

Somewhere, there are likely church small groups that function like us…  However, we are a cross-denominational work that focuses on seeing our Vision come to pass among the 20s.  Communities, teams, and individual relationships are our vehicle to see it happen.  But, our Vision is what we are aiming for.  The Navigators focus on making disciples and raising up laborers more than they focus on getting people to join something.

You travel a lot — will you be in the Chicagoland any time soon? 

I think in February…I am hoping so.  I will be there briefly in November (next week!).

Grad seminar at University of Illinois

On November 3rd, 20s Mission Chicago met up with the Navigators collegiate group at the University of Illinois for a seminar with some of the senior class.

Students heard from Jay Neuharth about transitioning in the the workplace. Recent graduate of the U of I, Matt Morris, also shared his experience of school-to-work transition.

Thanks to everyone who came! We hope that wherever you go after you graduate, that you will stay committed to Christ and find a committed group of Christians or a 20s Mission. If you end up in Chicago, we hope you’ll join us!

The next Senior workshop will occur on December 1st at Ball State University.

Praying for the impossible

by Jay N.

This last week was the Navigators Collegiate Fall Conference where 20s MIssion Chicago did a short breakout session for college seniors.  During the course of the conference, I heard quote from Helen Keller and it struck me as very relevant to this stage of life.

“All control is an illusion.”

What thoughts does it bring to mind? I often find myself wanting to have control even when I’m praying. I want to know what I’m getting, and what I need to do to get it. But if I limit my prayers to ones that I know will come true, then I won’t pray for anything bigger than what I can control myself.

And that would be a pity, because evidently God wants me to pray a lot  (“Ask … seek … knock …” Mt 7:7), and not just for the things I think are possible. One of the speakers at our collegiate conference, Tom Yeakley, also shared this from J. O. Sanders:

“God encourages us to ask for the impossible as well as the possible, because to him all things are the same – less than himself.”

Emerging graduates have a lot to pray about as they consider their future plans. We wanted to help them to ask and expect the impossible from God.

What impossible things are you asking of God?