I was given the opportunity to serve my home church by being a small group leader for our annual camp that is held for the youth ministry, and this year’s theme was “Gospel Ready”. But what does that mean exactly? Our theme verse this year really embodies what it means to be gospel ready.
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” – 2 Timothy 4:1-5
Coming into my 3rd year of college, I was nervous. Heck, I’m still nervous. Why, do you ask? Well, I’m part of two organizations on campus, and both organizations are trying out a new structure, figuring out how to gain and retain members, and both have a new leadership team who have lots of great and new ideas. Now, don’t get me wrong…there’s nothing wrong with this at all. It’s just that there’s so much uncertainty in this upcoming year. I’m nervous because I don’t know how this year is going to turn out. I don’t know what it’s going to look like at the end of the year. I don’t know what kind of fruit it’s going to produce. I just don’t know, and that’s what makes me nervous.
I was also nervous because I was already feeling tired, drained, and worn out even before school started. I was scared that I was going to burn out, that I was going to get to stressed, that I wouldn’t have time to rest, that I wouldn’t be able to talk to all the new freshmen, that our structure would fall apart, that people wouldn’t pull their own weight. I was scared. I had so many insecurities and doubts, and I was scared of what the future was going to look like and how everything was going to come into play even though school hadn’t even started yet.
And honestly, there are so many times where I’ve wanted to give up, to stop serving, to stop doing everything because I was tired. Tired of fighting, tired of arguing, tired of feeling misunderstood, tired of feeling like everything I was doing was done in vain, and honestly, a couple of nights ago was one of those times. Leadership is tough, and it’s definitely no walk in the park. But then I’m reminded by my church camp’s theme verse: “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” No matter the stress, no matter the worries, no matter the doubts, no matter the struggles and hardships, there is no off season. I’m called to be a child of God and a faithful servant so that God may use me as a vessel for His kingdom. There is no off season for Christianity, no off season for glorifying God, no off season for living a life like Christ. There just isn’t.
It’s so easy to say “I’m done. I quit. I’m not doing this next year.”, and no matter how many times I tell myself that…I don’t think I can actually follow through with it. You see, I say and think those things, but all of that disappears as soon as I see all the fruit that has been produced producing even more fruit. All of that disappears when I see our members reaching out and loving on the new members with an overflowing love. All of that disappears when I see how our members are stepping out of their comfort zone to make our new members feel comfortable. It just poofs away because what’s replaced instead is joy. God has truly blessed my college ministry, and it is so amazing to see how He is working through our members and through the ministry as well.
Through all of this, it makes me wonder what else God has in stored for me, for the ministry, and for our members. I can worry and doubt and freak out all I want to, but I can only wait until the end when everything will be revealed in His perfect timing. After seeing such a huge turnout for our first core group meeting, I’m confident and at peace in knowing that God’s hand is still working in Epic and that He’s not finished yet. I just have to trust in Him and leave the rest up to God.
Leadership, school, and life may be tough, but I encourage all of you to keep on fighting the good fight. Stay strong and love always. Be gospel ready.