Recently, I’ve been throwing around this idea of a “heart for students” and what that means in my life and the people that I work with (on staff as well as volunteers). I met with someone yesterday who is interested in joining our Student Ministry team and I asked this person about their heart and where they felt like they fit and they said, “High school was a really rough time for me, and so I feel called and driven to invest in students that are in a similar stage of life that was really hard for me.” Wow.
From here, I started thinking about where my heart came from and could pinpoint a couple of things in my life that cultivated a heart to see students changed by the power of Jesus Christ. This is the first of 3 people/experiences that have shaped my heart. This will deal with the people that have pushed me and encouraged me, and gave me opportunities to serve.
– My dad – He has always been driven in what he does by his heart. Whether it was moving from Southern California back to Ohio or trying to reestablish a church in Mt. Vernon that had been left for dead, he has been in tune with God’s call and never hesitated. He set an example for me to listen to God and to be involved with what get’s your heart excited (and here I am). It’s been seen most recently in his recent move from full time pastor to full time missionary to Asia. You can’t talk to him for more than 5-10 minutes without him talking about God’s faithfullness in Asia and if you’re not careful, he’ll try to get you to go with him (pretty much every time I see him, at least). If you’d like more info, check out my “Causes I Back” section and click on “Asia’s Hope” Thanks, dad.
– Jack Rants (Grace College) – During what was admittedly one of the hardest years of my life (amen, Knepper?) Jack was my supervisor while I was in charge of different ministry teams. I met with him every week and I was able to talk out frustration and confusion while offering ideas and encouragement in my direction. He kept pushing me back into serving people, even when I didn’t want to, and to this day I believe that I would not be where I am today because of his influence in my life. Thanks, Jack.
– Jim Brown (Grace Community Goshen, in the “Churches I Check” section) – While attending church in Goshen and serving alongside Jeremiah Olson on the worship team (see Pt. 2), I had the opportunity to connect on different occasions with Jim, the Senior Pastor. Each week I saw a man totally sold out to reaching lost people and hearing him talk (on stage and off) about his heart really pushed me to examine mine. He impacted Amber and I both enough that we had the privilege of having him marry us last July. Plus he can’t stand Notre Dame, that’s gotta count for something. : ) Thanks, Jim.
This is in no way an exhaustive list, but an attempt to see where my heart came from. And though ultimately, I understand and know that God gives desires and as we seek Him more each day we become more in line with what He wants from us, I also understand He puts people in our lives to push us (sometimes against our will) to be all that God wants us to be. So who in your world has shaped you? Have you thanked them for doing so? Check back tomorrow for Part 2.