When Being No. 1 Isn’t For You

Photo Credit: Boaz Crawford (creationswap.com)

Photo Credit: Boaz Crawford (creationswap.com)

At 4-years-old my deck-hockey coach gave me two simple instructions I still remember 20 years later.

  1. Block any shots from going in the goal.
  2. WIN.

Deck-hockey, for those who aren’t familiar, is a common recreational sport on the East Coast. It’s essentially hockey, but you trade in the skates for shoes, the ice for gravel and the puck for a small round ball.

I have absolutely no idea if we won that game. I do remember swatting shots away from our goal as if I was playing tea ball.

Four years later I started playing organized football (Pop Warner). The instructions were similar to my deck-hockey days:

  1. Stop the team from scoring.
  2. WIN.

After 14 years of organized athletics and four years of striving in a competitive field of study (journalism), I subconsciously adopted a certain mentality —  if I wasn’t No. 1 or winning, something was wrong.

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Four Principles for Christians Heading to Secular Universities

LSU football game in 2010. Photo Credit: mattandkayla.us

by: Kayla Marcantonio

Choosing to attend a secular university over a Bible college was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

While choosing a secular university before a Bible school isn’t the popular route for those going into ministry or simply living out their Christian faith, below are four principles I learned which will make your public education after high school a success.

(Please do not assume I’m implying bible colleges are obsolete or unneeded. My husband and myself are currently enrolled in a theological seminary for graduate school, and we’re eager to begin! This post is to serve solely as encouragement for those entering secular universities and colleges, who made the same decision as I once did.)

1. Force yourself to grow.

As a youth pastor, the following statistic keeps me up at night. According to one Barna Group study, only 30 percent of Christian teens continue to live out their faith after high school.

Out of ten students, one will leave the faith completely, four will call themselves Christians but not be active in church, and two will become so confused about their personal convictions they disconnect from Christian beliefs.

The only way to not become a statistic is to go into college with a growth mindset. Many times, students find the college/new church ministry isn’t what their used to; it confuses them and they leave, feeling left out and lonely.

The students in the Chi Alpha ministry or BCM group will not be like the teens from youth group.

Forget about being allowed straight into leadership, which you’ll probably miss from your senior Bible club. Stereotypes aside, the church or ministry you join (yes, you should ensure you join one) WILL look different. Whether it’s bigger or smaller, has louder worship or institutes small groups — it won’t be the same as what you want or expect … and that OK.

College is a time to grow, a time to find yourself as a person. How can you know what you need in a ministry if you’ve only seen it one way? How will you ever know what talents you can provide without growing and seeing ministry differently? Remember, church really isn’t about you to begin with — see the next point for an explanation.

…Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:43-45

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Crazy Sacrifice Produces Crazy Results

Pastor Eliot Morgan, of Ile Des Cannes Worship Center, instructing before students reached out in the community.

You don’t know his name. You’ve never heard of this community. You will never understand the magnitude of his passion.

Two years after planting a church in Lafayette, La., i.e. the community of Ile Des Cannes, Eliot Morgan and I were driving to an outreach Saturday to serve those in the area.

During our conversation, Eliot shared a personal sacrifice that blew me away — a sacrifice that will cost his comfort.

Eliot, Jenny(his wife), his family, and Ile Des Cannes’ staff are moving in together. No, not into a nice-sized house in a beautiful Lafayette subdivision. They are purchasing an entire building of four apartments in the Ile Des Cannes community to literally live with the same people they are serving.

Note: The “community” is 100+ apartment buildings where more than 1,000 people live.

Their church — only a deep passion in a their hearts at one time — will break on fresh land in the apartment complex, a plot in the heart of Ile Des Cannes surrounded by the two story, red brick buildings.

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