When I was in Jr. High – I realized the church wasn’t just a bunch of adults singing songs and hearing speeches. I realized that God wanted to speak to me. I realized that He wanted something for and from my life (though I couldn’t have dreamed that it would be what He’s done with my life so far). I realized He wasn’t just a past-tense Creator, but that He was active in the world around me and wanted to be active within me. It was in the context of a place that was really a people called the Church at Bryant.
It was a critical time for me of important spiritual discovery. I met Truth. People like my friend Scott and the youth minister Kyron (though we called him KC then) introduced me to Him. Actually my parents and others had been trying to do that for years, I just didn’t pay much attention until then. I love being able to do that now for someone else.
College at Nebraska Christian College was another spiritual watershed in my life. It wasn’t just that I was being equipped for ministry and digging deeper into God’s Word than ever before. I was being shaped and held in the hand of God. I was learning to be His. I love helping other people learn that.
My first ministry (with the Auburn Christian Church) was another place/people that has marked my life for the good. For the first time, I could see my life (inasmuch as it is Christ’s) really making a difference in someone else’s. I saw Him becoming real to students as they looked at me. It was a humbling and rewarding time.
This weekend I took some WestWay Jr Highers to GORF at NCC, another important place that’s really a people. It’s amazing to see God working and to think of the circle of ministry that’s happening in my life. I took Jr High kids (from WestWay) to my college home (NCC), where they were hosted by some of my former students (from Auburn) who are growing up and being used by God in some really exciting ways. The juxtaposition of present results and future potential and past efforts painted a great picture for me this weekend. A picture of God at work.
Some of you already know this part, but just to add a bit of God’s irony to the picture…
About 10 years ago, the building where the Church at Bryant met was locked up by those people for the final time. But this isn’t another ‘church gets old and dies’ story. The church where I spent Jr. High bought a lumber yard, remodeled, and began meeting on West 27th St. Since they weren’t ‘at Bryant’ anymore, they changed their name to WestWay Christian Church.