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.