Drew Williquette, Children's Pastor at First Baptist Church (Glen Este, OH)
I look back at the last few months in awe of where God has taken us.
It was just a few months ago that I was a senior at Bob Jones University. I was working on finishing a degree in Bible and trying to prepare for whatever was after college.
On top of that, I was planning to get married, serving in a local church and in a student leadership position on campus. I was completely overwhelmed but excited at the same time. I knew I would be walking across the graduation stage soon and taking the next step into the future. What I knew then but didn’t always see was that God was preparing me through everything I was doing at BJU for what I’m doing today.
Every major experience I was involved in during my time at BJU—whether it was society sports, leadership positions on campus, dorm relationships, or church involvement—were all crucial in shaping me to do everything that I do now.
So, what do I do now and how do those experiences shaped me?
Simply put, the mindset which was formed while attending BJU has shaped my ministry perspective in so many ways. The emphasis that was put on hard work, perseverance, and most importantly a careful understanding of what the Bible says and how to live it out are things that I learned the most clearly during my time at Bob Jones that I’ll take with me forever.
I learned these and these taught me. I understood these because they were taught to me in classrooms, and I understood these because they were ingrained to me through experiences during my four years of college. Although it was extremely difficult at times, I wouldn’t trade any of it.
Today I have the privilege of serving as children’s pastor at First Baptist Church of Glen Este, Ohio. It has been an incredible journey of God’s grace in bringing my wife and I here and giving us an opportunity to serve parents and 3 to 12-year-old kids. We spend most of our days now planning activities for kids, prepping Sunday school or junior church lessons, holding meetings with our children’s ministry workers, and communicating the direction of our children’s ministry to parents.
Again, it is all the Lord’s working through those situations so glory to Him, but I can’t help but be very thankful for my time in school and how God used every situation to shape my life and prepare me for my calling into full-time ministry.
My challenge to you—freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and even seniors—is to never give up. We should always be growing, always be learning and looking for ways to improve for the glory of God and to be used by Him in whatever way possible. Never give up! Persevere through the difficult times in college because there will be blessings down the road, but also remember that we’ll never “arrive” until we get to heaven.
Just because I have had the opportunity to go through college and now get to serve God in full-time ministry at a local church does not mean I have arrived. It just means I need to work even more to learn and grow in this position that God has given to me. He has given this position to me as a steward for His glory and learn how to better serve Him and others.
What a privilege!
One thing that drives me is to remember that whatever I do and whatever happens, I must do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 says “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”. It is this verse that drives me in ministry, and it should drive every Christian as they seek to find and do the will of God for their lives—as they seek to do what God has specifically given them to do.
Drew Williquette is the children’s pastor at First Baptist Church of Glen Este, Ohio. He has served in this capacity since June of 2019. He and his wife Jenna love serving the parents and children at First Baptist. You can read about their children’s ministry through the blog “Kids Korner” at http://fbcge.org/kids-korner/.
Pastor Joe Fant, Pastor at Community Baptist Church in South Bend, IN
Summer is just around the corner! For most of us, the word summer is synonymous with vacation, sleeping in (finally!), extra time hanging out with friends, and other activities that the school year’s schedule limits. For many, summer means working at a camp, going on a mission trip, or doing a required internship. Sadly, for some Christian college students, the word summer is associated with the reality of spiritual failure, lack of accountability, and reduced time in the Word, in prayer, and in church life.
As you head out for the summer or make plans for this summer, I would encourage you to keep three things in mind:
Stay in the Word!
It sounds like a basic given for any Christian, but this part of your life often gets thrown out first. You must plan effectively and be intentional if you want to keep your relationship with God vibrant throughout the summer months. Take a vacation; just don’t take a vacation from God. Sleep in; just remember to spend time developing your relationship with your Father. Use a little of the extra time that you have to keep your relationship with God thriving. Cleanse your way this summer by paying diligent attention to the truths of the Word and applying them to your life (Ps. 119:9). You are going to spend time developing and deepening relationships with friends and family this summer. The God of the universe wants to deepen His relationship with you. Give Him the time He deserves.
This summer, look for areas to serve. Just because your personal responsibility of school is on break does not mean that Kingdom work takes a break! Plug in and help with the VBS at your church. Teach a Sunday School class. Help your youth pastor with the teens. Seek out godly leaders in your church and ask them to mentor you. Make it a priority to be a blessing to your pastor by asking him how you can pray for him. Guys, maybe ask to meet your pastor for lunch every couple of weeks to just talk and pray. Girls, seek to do the same with your pastor’s wife. This next suggestion may sound silly but try to establish an exercise routine—bodily exercise profits a little and reminds us that spiritual exercise profits for eternity (I Tim. 4:8). Stay active in your church attendance. Every one of us needs to gather together with our church family on a regular basis for worship, spiritual accountably, discipleship, and fellowship. Don’t neglect gathering with the body of Christ. You need them and they need you.
In my years of working with college students, I found that the hardest time for young men and women to stay pure was when they left the discipline of their daily routine. The routine you have developed at college is in for a summer shake up. Expect to struggle! Have a plan. Stay accountable. Know the friends that you are going to have to avoid and have a plan to talk to them about what God is doing in your life. Know your danger zones and discuss with a spiritually-minded friend how to avoid sin and temptation. Above all, PRAY! Pray that God would deliver you from temptation. Pray that God would allow you to have ministry opportunities like you have never had before. Pray that God would give you the grace to stay pure.
What a wonderful blessing it would be for you to look back on summer 2019 with joy and no regret. Let this summer be a summer of spiritual victories!
Jordan Baun, Coordinator of Outreach & Evangelism
Have you ever wondered what God is calling you to do with your life? After all, no one wants to be a ship without a sail. But sometimes it seems like there are a few good options or even a world of possibilities from which we can choose. For me, it was two years ago. I was wrestling with what the Lord would have for me long term. Should I pursue international missions or continue to walk through open doors for ministry here in the States? Through the course of a 6-week mission trip, the Lord used His Word and the many encounters with missionaries and pastors to give me some clarity on the future.
I had been asking the wrong question. I had been so focused on the ‘what’ that I hadn’t been listening to my own teaching on the Word. The ‘what’ was decided for me the moment I decided to follow Jesus as his disciple. The what is the great commission. In short, make disciples (evangelism) and teach them to observe everything the Lord commanded (discipleship). The questions that I wanted answers for were ‘how’ and ‘where.’ I haven’t figured out where I will be long term, but for now, God has called me here to Greenville and my church in Hendersonville.
So, what does this have to do with you? How does my story intersect with you as you go home to work for the summer? Well, you may want to be headed home for the summer, or you may be wishing you had the finances to work at a camp or take a mission trip, but God has called you to go home and work. But just like in my story, as a disciple of Christ, you too have a clear calling for what to do this summer: evangelism and discipleship.
Don’t be the student that waste their summer on Netflix and video games or other time-wasting frivolities. I know because I was that student. My one summer at home was a wasted summer. I don’t get it back, and one day I will give account for it. Make your summer count for eternity. Get engaged in God’s mission for you.
Your summer will probably look quite a bit different than almost everyone else’s summer, but you can take advantage of different avenues for evangelism and discipleship there in your hometown that you would not have otherwise. I am going to separate some possible opportunities into two categories: work and church.
You can be strategic about the job that you take this summer. There are many factors that influence our decision for work: Location, salary, and job description to name a few. Of course, for some the decision is made for you or you may not have options. But if you do have a choice, what if you also considered the role you could play in evangelism in the job you choose? One of the biggest hurdles in evangelism I continually hear from students is they don’t know unsaved people. This summer you could build meaningful relationships for gospel advancement that perhaps you have never experienced before. Just imagine how rewarding a summer at home could be if you were having natural gospel conversations regularly!
As you make your decision, could I plead with you to also consider how your job might affect your church attendance and participation? Sometimes life is tough and takes our church attendance out of our own hands. However, when given a choice, Christ is always most glorified in our faithfulness as a part of His Bride.
As you find time to invest in your church, let me suggest a few ways that you can have an impact this summer. This is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully, it will get your brain engaged in thinking through opportunities you may have.
First, ask your pastor and youth pastor. They probably know the church and its needs better than anyone. Tell them you want to make your summer count and ask them how you can best invest time into the growth of the church, both externally and internally. After they answer, be ready to serve! One of my close friends continually reminds me, “Everyone wants to be a servant until they are treated like one.” Be prepared to serve in whatever way you are called upon to do so. Remember that when we dictate how we will serve, we are only serving ourselves.
Next, volunteer for VBS. Lifeway Research revealed that 60% of adults in America attended VBS growing up. Their research also found that “78% of churches say they use VBS as their largest outreach to unchurched kids in a given year.” VBS can leave a lasting impact on a church and the community. If your church has VBS, be the first one in line to volunteer!
Finally, know and be known. What I mean by that is find someone to disciple and find someone to disciple you. Maybe you have a high school student or students you can spend time with regularly. Look for those opportunities, invest in their lives, and help them to take the next step spiritually. And then find someone that will do the same for you. At the end of your summer, you might find that you don’t want to leave your church and that’s a good thing.
How will you spend your summer? You only get one summer 2019. It will be here before you know it and will be gone before you realize it started. Don’t waste it. The world will tell you a million ways you should spend your summer. It will tell you that you have worked hard this year and you deserve some Me time. But consider your life as Paul does in 2 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
Make this summer count for Christ because, after all, this summer is not yours but Christ’s. Enjoy your summer at home and glorify God through the way you spend it.
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The CGO Blog
Written by the CGO staff, with guest posts from students and other faculty/staff at BJU to provide thought leadership for missions in a new millennium.