Jeremy Jernigan – Executive Pastor (Creative Arts/Students)
It’s been a crazy few weeks for me. If you read Cal’s email last week you know that we’ve made some changes in our Student Ministry. Specifically, I’ve offered to oversee it and help to create the same culture in Student Ministry that I’ve poured into Creative Arts the last few years (I’ll still be overseeing Creative Arts and preaching in the rotation). I’ve been overwhelmed by the positive comments I’ve received from many of you. Many people aren’t quite sure what the appropriate response is but almost everyone has offered to pray for me and for our Student Ministry in the process.
Which is awesome because this challenge is totally beyond me.
Let me give you a brief snapshot into the backstory. My wife approached me months ago and mentioned that I should offer to help in Student Ministry. I had no idea what that would even look like and I wasn’t interested. I’ve found my groove in Creative Arts and I love what I get to do. But Michelle is not one to give up easily. After a few more of these conversations (and a few more of my deflections), she upped her game a bit. One night she told me something to this effect:
“If you can help Student Ministry, and you don’t offer to do it, you’re being selfish.”
I hate when the Holy Spirit uses my wife to get to me (it’s not fighting fair).
She said this in a loving tone and it didn’t take much prayer after that to realize that she was right. So without a clear idea of what I was offering, I did it. Fast forward to a bunch of conversations later and here I am. I have the chance to pour myself into a ministry that has never quite hit its stride in the last decade. While there is something to the challenge that gets my adrenaline going, there is also much to it that completely overwhelms me. Coincidentally, I’ve started a new habit since this officially began. On some nights I will go for a walk to my nearest Circle K to pick up… a Slurpee (technically they call it a “Froster”). In the 20-30 minutes it takes to walk there and back I get a great opportunity to clear my mind and dial in to prayer. In my walks the past couple of weeks I’ve come to two observations.
1. Prayer should be a sweet taste in our mouth. (click here to tweet this)
The association between praying to God and enjoying the taste of the Slurpee in my mouth caught me by surprise. It allowed me to reflect on how fulfilling and enjoyable it is to connect with God in this way. I thought of my last message from the summer series and reflected on the joy of being connected to the vine.
2. Bold moves create the right dependency for a healthy prayer life. (click here to tweet this)
The reason I suddenly need to go on my Slurpee walks is that I’m acutely aware of the scope of what I’m attempting to do. I’m also acutely aware of my own limitations. It is in the difference between the two where I feel a natural need to unplug from everything around me and plug into God. I also realize that the seasons when I don’t feel an urge to pray is because I’m likely far too comfortable and complacent with what I’m doing.
So that’s what I’m processing through right now. I’d encourage you to try out what God has recently taught me. Grab your favorite beverage or snack, go for a walk, and consider a bold move you could take to try something that’s beyond you. What has God placed on your heart but you keep putting it off? If you need, I’m sure my wife is willing to have a conversation with you about it…