Waypoints: Plotting a course toward calling Waypoint 1: Secular College Ministry
Waypoint 1 – SUNY Cortland/MBC, Cortland, NY
Agape Christian Fellowship
There were two focal points of growth in Cortland. The first is that I helped start a Christian club on my campus. The club was Agape Fellowship and I volunteered to be secretary of this club near the end of my first semester at college. This club ran great and I loved my staff the first year. The second year, I became President of the club and a very charismatic vice president was elected to operate the club with me. Being charismatic, he was a natural fit up front and did much of the teaching. That was until I was confronted with some very unpleasant truths about his interaction with females on the gamete level. This was the first time I had to work through church discipline with a ‘congregation’ of believers who liked him more than they cared for his morals. After many accusations of me being jealous of his leadership, he was fired from being an RA in his dorm (secular school) and I had him resign. This is a trying time where I learned that I should have listened to my gut reaction when I first met him. I regret that I let him into such a prominent role so quickly, while he was very articulate in Bible, charismatic and seemed trustworthy, there was something in my soul that didn’t like/trust him.
Jesus Awareness Week
A major event on campus that I was able to help orchestrate was Jesus Awareness Week that occurred during holy week. We united with another Christian club on campus (BASIC) and were able to help bring in prominent speakers like Reggie Dabbs and some Christian bands. We focused on outreach and apologetics; speakers would debate with professors on various hot topics such as evolution. This event helped me confirm that I should be in full time ministry and expose my administrative-visionary giftings. The skills developed here enabled me to orchestrate events of large magnitude has helped me in other places construct all-nighters, scavenger hunts and multi-church gatherings.
Memorial Baptist Church and Purpose Driven Youth Ministry
During my freshman year of college I was a volunteer youth worker at Memorial Baptist Church in Cortland, NY and was mentored by Pastor Dan. He had a training manual that helped me acculturate into ministry. In this training manual were several lessons that helped me understand the profession of ministry better. Among these were expectations of youth workers, spiritual gift inventories, values inventories and youth culture/anthropology studies. Another area where I was impacted greatly during this time was my study of Purpose Driven Youth Ministry and building my knowledge and cant of healthy youth ministry utilizing the PDYM model. I also built my competency working with youth and spending time with them. The final area of ministry at MBC was my exposure to kids of varying socioeconomic backgrounds. One Superbowl Sunday I visited a youth who lived “on the other side of the tracks” (literally too). During this visit I was exposed to relative poverty of living in a trailer park and how people react to minimal resources. This opened my eyes to values of the social gospel and helped me change degrees (therefore colleges) from elementary education to social work. Since this time, I always have felt my calling was to get my MSW and then pursue my MDiv.
Spiritually, Pastor Dan helped me learn about youth ministry and helped me look to my future using silence. It was during this reflection that I determined that elementary education wasn’t the way that I liked helping people and that I should move towards a social service field to learn to help others. I also wanted to go deeper into Youth Ministry and become a pastor as well. This required that I change school and change schools to go to Gordon College, a Christian college in Wenham, MA. That summer as passing through the Berkshires, feeling some doubt in the early morning hours, I saw a rainbow that seemed to affirm that I was heading the right direction.