Many college graduates take a road trip before settling into a career, but the one Rebecca Schaub embarks on soon is rather different. Instead of sightseeing and relaxing, Rebecca, an assisting minister at Gateway (Salem South Foursquare Church) in Salem, Ore., will be visiting a string of Foursquare churches on an informal ministry exchange, along with three companions.
The Mobile Church Movement will meet with local leaders and help with outreach and service projects to get a better idea of the scope of ministry opportunities. In return, they hope to be able to offer encouragement and share the perspective of NextGen leaders.
Departing from Life Pacific College (LPC) in San Dimas, Calif., on August 17, Rebecca and her co-travelers will set out on a four-month, 15-state trek that will take them to approximately 20 churches, where they will stay with member families. With Indiana their easternmost point, they are due back in California in mid-December.
“We are coming to serve, to learn from them—hearing their stories and learning from their years of experience,” says Rebecca, who graduated from LPC in May 2011. “But we also want to share our excitement and our passion for ministry. We hope that we will be able to encourage leaders to continue in the work they are doing. So often ministry gets exhausting, and there is not a lot of encouragement.”
She has firsthand experience of the demands of church ministry. Her parents, Greg and Stacey Schaub, have pastored Gateway for more than a decade. Rebecca has been serving at the church since she graduated while working as a barista and server, and planning the Mobile Church Movement trip.
“I have a lot to be grateful for in regard to my heritage,” she says of growing up as the second oldest of five siblings. “My parents really paved the way for me, and because of their faithfulness, it’s not hard. I have never rebelled or walked away, because I have seen God’s hand in our lives.”
The idea for the Mobile Church Movement was born in a conversation with a fellow LPC student, James Tapp, a couple of years ago.
“We were about to graduate, not knowing what we were going to be doing,” Rebecca recalls. “We were brainstorming ideas, and he said, ‘Why don’t we travel from church to church, serving, encouraging and learning?’ I realized it was like he was speaking my heart.”
Though James was unable to continue with the idea, Rebecca picked it up and ran with it. Joining her will be Jake Jackson, taking a semester out from LPC; Vanessa Lewis, a co-worker in Salem; and Emilie Beck, a graduate of Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, Calif.
Currently a junior high pastor at Reliance Community Church, a non-denominational congregation in Upland, Calif., Jake says he hopes to learn more about “the Foursquare family” from the trip. “I am excited to see pastors in their own societies and demographics.”
Emilie says she anticipates “meeting incredible people and watching God move as we travel the country. This will be a wonderful opportunity to learn from other churches.”
Rebecca and her colleagues have received an enthusiastic welcome from host churches, and the project was also warmly received when she spoke about it at Connection 2012 in Phoenix. “Some are a little curious, because this is the first time this has been done, and we don’t know exactly what it will look like,” she says.
In addition to sharing their progress through a Facebook page and a website, mobilechurchmovement.com, the team hopes to produce a documentary DVD and some kind of written report upon their return.
“We’re hoping that this will be the first of multiple teams that will go out,” Rebecca affirms. “We would like for future teams to visit different districts.”
Though the Mobile Team Movement trip is the first of its kind, it does hearken back to Foursquare’s roots.
“We’re sort of following in Aimee Semple McPherson’s footsteps,” Rebecca explains, recalling the Foursquare founder’s famous evangelistic cross-country tour. “She did this [more than 90] years ago, when it was not as easy as it is today with all the conveniences we have. She is an inspiration to me.”
While they are setting out mostly with questions, the 23-year-old believes she and the others will get the opportunity to share a few answers.
“They know their communities better than we ever will, and they have been faithfully serving for years, and we are young and have so much to learn,” she says.
“But we do have something to offer, because we are God’s, because He has equipped us, and He has empowered us with His Holy Spirit,” Rebecca continues. “We want to come alongside in what they are doing and partner with them in where they are going; I hope they will sense our love and support for what they are doing.”
Along the way, Rebecca also hopes for some further clarity about her own future. Feeling called to ministry since childhood, she initially wanted to be involved with youth camps.
“But then I realized I could do anything,” she says, mulling the possibility of pursing a non-ministry-related master’s degree so she might become a bi-vocational church planter.
By: Andy Butcher, a freelance writer living in the Orlando, Fla., area