It was 2010, and I was in the midst of an associate’s degree in Graphic Design at my local community college. Each week I had a four-hour lab for one of my design classes which basically consisted of sitting in a Mac computer lab working on a variety of projects. Next to me sat Josh. I can’t remember all the details, but I know Josh wasn’t the religious type. I think he had grown up with a minimal Christian background but had ultimately rejected it all for the party lifestyle. Each new week as we sat in class, he would share how he had been wiped out that weekend getting drunk, clubbing, and watching the latest movies. Each new week I’d listen with little to comment on, wondering if we had anything in common at all besides this class. He wondered the same and mentioned that I really wasn’t into anything he considered fun.
“With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Saviour might be carried to the whole world!”
For over a decade, GYC has referred to this statement from Evangelism, p.271 as one of the primary motivations for our existence. Few have bothered finding the preceding paragraphs to understand what exactly these workers are supposed to do.
“He who knows the depths of the world’s misery and despair, knows by what means to bring relief. He sees on every hand souls in darkness, bowed down with sin and sorrow and pain… …The burden of labor for these needy ones in the rough places of the earth Christ lays upon those who can feel for the ignorant and for such as are out of the way. He will be present to help those whose hearts are susceptible to pity, though their hands may be rough and unskilled.”
What is the work to be done? It is serving those in misery and despair, ministering to all who are bowed down with sin and sorrow and pain.
Then, we come to the paragraph just preceding the “army of workers.” It says:
“There is no line of work in which it is possible for the youth to receive greater benefit. All who engage in ministry are God’s helping hand. They are co-workers with the angels; rather, they are the human agencies through whom the angels accomplish their mission. Angels speak through their voices, and work by their hands. And the human workers, co-operating with heavenly agencies, have the benefit of their education and experience.”
What is ministry? Sometimes we have the idea that ministry is door-knocking, canvassing, Bible work, and public evangelism through Daniel and Revelation seminars. While these are all true, such a perspective is far too narrow.
One day, Josh decided to take a smoke break during one of our four-hour labs. I don’t remember how or why I ended up outside as well, but as I exited the building he stopped me to chat. He shared how weird it was that we had almost nothing in common, and yet even though he had the fun, party lifestyle, he felt like it was hollow, meaningless, and his life had no purpose. Yet he was confused that I didn’t do anything he considered “fun” like that, yet always seemed to have a sense of happy meaning and purpose to life. It just didn’t make sense to him. At that moment, I had the opportunity to stumble through sharing with Josh how God was the source of that meaning and purpose, and how without knowing God personally, I too had once sensed the same hollow, meaninglessness in my own life. I don’t think I ever had another spiritual conversation with Josh, and he never really had enough interest to study the Bible, but I know God placed me there right next to him for four hours a week at that point in our lives. That was ministry.
All around us, people are suffering. Some may suffer from physical needs, circumstances, or sickness. Many of them have a deeper hurt, however, a dull persistent ache for something more. I suspect most of us have also known it at some point. As we read above though, the question for us is: Do you feel for those who are out of the way? Are you willing to co-work with angels?
This year, I believe God has a calling for your life that is more than just a cookie-cutter approach to ministry. It may involve some tried-and-true methods, don’t get me wrong, but I believe we all have the opportunity to take that calling beyond just a career, interest, or hobby. For this reason, as part of GYC Beyond, we have published a workbook and are hosting a workshop every participant at GYC will get the opportunity to go through entitled “Activate – Find Your Calling, Fuel Your Passion, Fulfill Your Dreams.” It is our hope and prayer that as you go through this experience, God will guide you to find ways to serve him through your calling, passion, and dreams.
See you there!
VP of Networking