Stopping to Smell the Roses

Summertime is officially fading from a student ministry perspective right now.  After three full weeks of summer camp, two extended retreats, a weeklong missions trip, lake days, my first wedding and various speaking engagements I can just start to see it in my rear view mirror.  I never would have anticipated some of what God did through it and I’m so glad that He operates beyond all I can ask, think or imagine.

I have the privilege of serving in a ministry in which we have had many incredibly fruitful years and God has truly shown up in special ways in programs.  This has been both a blessing as well as a challenge.  In my experience, the longer something has ‘worked,’ the more people resist possible changes or adjustments because they think that the specific details of the event or camp have brought about God working, kind of like a spell.  Now to be fair, many people just have an honest nostalgia for what has happened in the past but I crave something bigger than that.  My heart this summer and I have vocalized it several times isn’t that we would simply talk about what God has done but see what God is doing and that it would be huge in its impact.

This summer has been great, not primarily because of an incredible volunteer team, great family partnerships or super fun students but because God has shown up.  He used camps, retreats, mission trips, events, and more to grow us closer to Him and each other.  I sincerely believe I’ve watched God do more in the hearts of students this summer than any other summer I’ve done ministry in.

The challenge starts now with what we do as a result.  With our incoming senior class we studied 2 Timothy together and a verse that has challenged me as I think about this year is from 2 Timothy 1:6, where Paul challenges Timothy to “fan into flame the gift of God.”  I think that the sparks are lit the same way in many students and leaders right now and as the wind of life picks back up it will be important that we cultivate the work God has done in our hearts, for His glory this year.

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