If there were an award for the most infrequent blogger, it'd be me. Sorry y'all. What can I say, college makes me lax on deadlines. But this time, I have exciting things to share!
I spent my spring break (2 weeks ago) in Huntington, West Virginia at Marshall University. My college ministry, Chi Alpha, sent students around the country and around the world on incredible spring break mission trips. I had the amazing opportunity to spend mine at Marshall, where a Chi Alpha was just started. My school, the University of Virginia, has the second largest Chi Alpha in the country (somewhere between 500 and 600 students), so we went to Marshall to help get their Chi Alpha (now about 15 students) motivated to grow.
The week was spent mostly doing evangelism and prayer walking through the campus. We would go up to students and start conversations about faith. It was awesome. I thought I'd be terrified to do this (I was actually), but God totally eased my fears. Most students were eager to share their opinions, no matter what they were. I got to share my faith and testimony with students all over the religion spectrum. I thought I had to plan every word of the conversation before I started it, but the Spirit completely interceded in many cases, and I was left dumbfounded as my words didn't even seem to be my words. I was talking about Jesus and it just felt right. After our conversations, no one fell to the ground and confessed Jesus as Lord, but opening up those conversations definitely planted some seeds. Who knows what will come of it all, but talking about Jesus all week reminded me of my true purpose. It just made sense to spend my time talking about life in Christ - what else could I do with that much significance??
I left the week with a new realization of the need to spend time in the Word each day. I almost couldn't get out of bed from pure exhaustion of the week, unless it meant I was going to read from the Well of living water. That's the only thing that got me up. Talking to people about Jesus is exhilarating, but it's exhausting without the King Himself being our strength.
I also found that I have a heart for campus ministry. College is a pivotal time for everyone who goes through it - someone told me once that you either get closer to God in college or further - there's no "staying the same". I totally understand that now that I'm living it. I know I've asked this before, but would you mind praying for college students out there seeking for the Lord? They're the next generation and we need Jesus to pour into them so that they can pour into others, too. This is exciting stuff, folks!
I've always thought of mission work as a destination - a week (sometimes more) set aside during the year devoted to traveling to some needy area, rolling up your sleeves and getting dirty, all in the name of the Lord. And that's a definition of it, to be sure. But as I'm preparing to spend next week in McDowell County, West Virginia with a wonderful sister in Christ to do exactly that, I think God is gently slapping me in the face. He's showing me that mission work is a lifestyle, not a week-long trip.
How, though, can a "mission" be a part of everyday life? The actual term "mission" implies something with a beginning and end, something that you begin, get through, and finish smoothly. It's another check on a to-do list, or at least that's how I've always liked to think of it. I'm definitely a to-do list kind of person.
But I don't believe that the Christian mission can be on a checklist. Jesus ends the book of Matthew with the Great Commission, saying that we should "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them...teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." So why can't that be fit in a week long trip? Because Jesus follows that with, "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." He gives us a bit of a time frame now - we can't just check off mission work because it's continual. He tells us to do that always because he's with us always, until the end of the age. The Lord is calling us to leave our comfort zone, roll up our sleeves, and serve Him, all the time.
I once heard a great sermon on this subject. The speaker told us wide-eyed college students that what we consider to be the means - loving God and loving others (which is the purpose of a mission trip, yes?) - God considers to be the end. Sometimes we love Him and love people because we want to save the world with Him. But the speaker is saying that we don't need to have that goal of saving the world - God does that. We just love Him and love people - that's our goal.
And I think that can be a lifestyle to carry, whether we're in West Virginia, West Africa, or West Falls Church.
At The Surge we love doing things together... that includes writing a blog! Here are a few of our main contributing authors:
Our fearless leader, Dwaine is the lead pastor at The Surge. His experience in counter terrorism with the CIA prepared him for ministry and he likes dogs and babies even more than E does.
E (short for Eric Reiss) is the Wingman at The Surge and likes dogs, music, Mexican food, his wife Karen and his little girl Evangeline... not necessarily in that order.