One of my favorite reads of the last year was Who Is This Man? by John Ortberg. In the book he details a leader of unimaginable influence – Jesus. Here is a brief excerpt: On the day of his death, it looked like whatever small mark he left on the world would rapidly disappear. Instead, his impact on human life and history has been unparalleled.
I have reflected on the influence of Jesus and his Kingdom on my life as I finished my 31st year of service with Chi Alpha Campus Ministries. I have thought about some of the lessons I have learned and adopted as my own due to the values, vision, and mission of Chi Alpha, but also through deep and satisfying relationships with so many colleagues in University Christian Community, The Navigators, Campus Crusade for Christ, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Youth with a Mission, Baptist Campus Missions, and the Assemblies of God.
Here are five lessons embedded in my life as a result, and ones I believe others should emulate:
First, is my loyalty to Christ and the Word of God. I learned early on from the students who lead me to faith in Christ as a college student the reality of Ephesians 2:19-20. “You are no longer aliens or strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.” That foundation is Scripture and Jesus. Barbara and I have built our family and ministry on Christ and the Bible, paying careful attention to both.
Second, is my practice of being grounded in the basics. I read Richard Foster’s, Celebration of Discipline, as a young leader and then heard my Navigator staff buddy, Andy Puleo, explain The Wheel illustration. I have been practicing the 12 disciplines Foster described and using the components of The Wheel (Scripture, prayer, fellowship, and witness, with obedience as the foundation), as the framework for my ongoing strength and motivation. Jesus said He would empower me to become like Him, as He has kept His word.
Third, is my trust in God’s promises. My first pastor, John M. Palmer said, “Faith is relying on God to do what He said He would do.” I was taught to look at the character of God in Scripture (as well as His promises) and pray and live accordingly.
Fourth, is my devotion to passing on the faith. One significant aim of those of us in campus ministry service is the idea of spiritual reproduction. We all know college students will one day graduate and leave, so our vision is to pass on the vision, character, and skills of Jesus to others, who in turn can pass them still on to others. This concept of third-generation discipling is clear in Matthew 28:20 when Jesus said, “…teaching them to obey everything I commanded you.” Notice the line of effort: I…you…them.
Fifth, is my commitment to the Great Commission. I have read Scripture and history about what Jesus commanded and what the followers of Jesus have been up to since his death, burial, and resurrection. Chi Alpha and all of our sister campus ministries have been consistently working to multiply college students into Christ-centered laborers to take the influence of Jesus’ teaching into every nation, thereby helping fulfill Christ’s Great Commission. Whatever else happens, evangelism and discipleship must be taking place and each generation must do its part.
Serve globally. I hope all of us find an anchor in these 5 lessons and continue a godly heritage.
Love is a verb,
©2013 by Mike Olejarz