I couldn't do it alone.
My life radically changed in college. I accepted Christ and began this journey of walking with Him. During my college years, I was trying to figure out who I was and the big things of life. Maybe not much has changed. I often see my struggles replayed out in students.
That life stage brings out deep questions:
How do I live?
What will I end up doing?
Who are my true friends?
What is life about?
I believe with my whole heart these are discipleship questions.
I felt those same questions in college and wondered how to factor God and Gospel. But I needed help. I walked around with so many unanswered questions and unaddressed struggles.
In the late nineties I would often return to Greensboro between semesters at App State. I remember asking my family and friends who might be good to walk with me in a spiritually way.
Nearly all the seasons of my life I have experienced the blessing of a spiritual mentor walking with me. God has allowed me to have a long list of men who have influenced me over the years. Honestly, I tear up as I think of these men. No blessing exceeds a trusted mentor in Christ.
I somehow connected with a man from Westover Church named Gary. He had helped with the discipleship classes there in the mid-nineties. He was a radio DJ, had a mustache and a huge heart for Christ. I reached out to him and we met a few times. He helped me sort through the daily implications of God's amazing, staying grace.
I think we met at Shoney's on Wendover. Great time.
Another was Mike and he had started a ministry that had ties with a ministry my mom and sister were influenced by in Charlotte. He helped people understand how they were trying to make life work without God, leading them to discover their identity in Christ. My college-aged, transient soul ate up what these men put before me. Those were important, formidable years.
Being in youth ministry for 12 years has amazing perks. I developed relationships with so many people who are not necessarily "youth" anymore. Many of my recent students are still in college and this time of year they return to Greensboro and often touch base with me. I love this!
Many college students who return to Greensboro don't have community or even spiritual mentors to connect with. It can be a bummer for them especially if they aren't traveling much or not doing more than working.
Over the years, this has stirred me to step out in faith and try to connect with these students. Sometimes that means having coffee and other times, like last summer, it means huddling with a small group and talking about a deeper walk with Christ. I love being with this age group and consider it a big part of my work.
I feel called to care for the soul of the next generation and re-introduce deeper truths of God's grace.
Meeting with students during the summer is full circle kind of thing for me. I hope to be a blessing to students I cross paths with in the same way mature Christian men where to me.
By the way… the man named Gary who I met at Westover those many years ago? He is now my father-in-law. Yup, I met with Gary before even knowing my wife, Emily. Can you believe it?! He is truly my spiritual father!
And as many of you know, the Mike I mentioned before was Mike Moses who graciously allowed me to take over this non-profit ministry, Grace Discipleship: a soul care ministry teaching God's grace and the believer's union with Christ.
That is why our ministry's logo has "Established in 1995" - though I've only been at it about a year and a half, this ministry has been alive through Mike for decades. I am so proud to be apart of Mike's legacy.
So cool right?!
Thanks for your support and encouragement,