It has been over a week now since our return from south Dallas, but it has been hard not to continually reflect and go back to the wonderful memories that were made during that week. I wanted to share some observations and challenges for us as a ministry, both for students and adults.
First, I saw an amazing amount of boldness. Wow! What a breathtaking thing to witness as a leader, that is, seeing students decide to take up the call and dive head first into the work of ministry. With our VBS activities, I witnessed students put aside differences and love on kids in an amazing way. I also observed a fearlessness in sharing the gospel; even sharing to children can be a frightening prospect. Way to go guys! With our homeless ministry endeavors, I was floored by the willingness to reach out to others and talk to those who are often shunned from our society. Handing someone some water and asking to pray with them is a huge deal, something that shows a willingness to obey God’s command for believers. With these observations, my challenge to students is to continue doing that work. Now that I know you can do it, the real challenge begins! Can we continue doing that work in the midst of a busy school semester? Are you willing to go up to someone in your school who is outcast and ask to pray with them? This is the kind of work we are called to do; this is what we are made for! Are you willing to continue doing the work of God’s Kingdom in order that others will be brought in?
Second, I saw an overall unity in our group. I don’t have illusions that we are all best friends who hold hands and skip down the street together, but I do know we are called to be unified. Putting differences aside and deciding to do work for the glory of God is a major step in the life of a believer, especially a student. I know we are tempted to criticize one another and talk down through joking and other such things, but I saw a general release from that attitude over our week in Dallas. I also know none of us are perfect but I want to challenge everyone to continue in the mentality of unity. Remember our RidgeStudents focus verse: “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13.35 NLT). Continue to pursue this! Paul tells Timothy to be the example is love, faith and purity (1 Tim. 4.12) and I call us all to do the same! Others will be intrigued by the love and submission we show to one another. Will you choose to do that even when the other person may not deserve it? That is our call as believers!
Lastly, I was blown away by the leadership I saw this past week. I felt like every student wanted to step up and lead an activity or a game or another task throughout the week. We all have different gifts but I feel as if those gifts were used mightily in a leadership fashion during Mission: Dallas. Not all of us are called to stand up and physically lead others, but all of us have gifts and talents that God desires for us to use for his glory. Don’t neglect these, rather, pursue and harness these gifts. Abide in God’s word and in prayer and ask him to further grow you in your gifts and abilities, and ask him to give you opportunities to use them. Again, set the example. Don’t be afraid to step out and use what God gave you, he will equip you and strengthen you when you do. Pray that you will be filled with the Spirit and ask him to give you continued boldness and opportunities to lead others.
Thanks to all who poured in their time and energy during our Mission: Dallas project. No doubt we will continue to return to the area, as well as plan for Mission: Dallas 2011. This Saturday, July 31, we will return to the Dunbar area to play with kids and share the gospel from 9AM-1PM. Please consider joining us for this student service opportunity. We will also be serving with Christian Community Action in Lewisville on August 6 from 1-7PM (movie afterward) so please consider this service occasion as well. Ephesians 2.10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” We were made to do this! Mission is our calling. As a body we encourage one another through prayer, worship and fellowship but all that should lead us to our main task of mission. Without mission, we are not the church. As students, you have a wonderful opportunity to share the love of Christ with others. We will continue to emphasize the importance of mission and look for more opportunities to use the gifts God has given to all of us through mission opportunities. Next summer is going to be even greater as we look to serve in an international context. Stay tuned for more information regarding that and other moments to serve. Thanks again for your continued encouragement to me and let’s continue the work that God has placed before us as we give him glory through serving others. Take care and have a great week in the Lord!
Peace in Him,