By: Timothy Spurgeon, Student leader and Network Photo Assistant
I do not know much about baseball. I do know that there are some players on the field, but a majority on the bench. They cheer on their team, take a bit of break, or are just there because they really do not believe they belong in the game even though they are on the team. Living on mission can feel the same way. People sit on the bench, cheering on their leaders. Maybe they’re “taking a break” from leading, or maybe they do not feel equipped to make disciples. A lot of people come out of their freshman year and fall into the metaphorical dugout, known as the sophomore slump.
I understand why it seems easier to say no to leadership. It’s scary to say yes because there are so many unknowns. The longer I lead, the more I begin to hear the real fears and doubts behind these common excuses. However, if we want to see kingdom movement on college campuses, there needs to be ownership among the upperclassmen. Here are the some of the most common lies upperclassmen, specifically sophomores, believe about leadership in the church.
“I Wasn’t As Busy My Freshman Year As I Am Now”
Your schedule does pick up the pace as you continue down your college career. Your course load gets heavier, your calendar feels more full than it was your freshman year. Sadly, God is not going to give us an extra hour of the day, but he can expand your capacity to invite people into your life. You do not need to add more time for people, instead invite them into the things you are already doing. Life on life is not just weekly scheduled meetings at a local coffee shop. The fear is of what we will have to sacrifice. We do not want to give up our lives, the things we have built. Jesus says “those who love their life will lose it and those who lose their life for me will surely find it” (Matthew 16:25). Be ready to lose those things in your life. We are not called to be comfortable; we are called to sacrifice. The miraculous reformation of the human heart through the meeting of their Savior is worth losing that hour of extra sleep. It is worth sacrificing that extra time on Netflix that keeps you from meeting with community or our Sunday gatherings.
“I Serve On A Sunday Gathering Team”
I am going to get real with you here. While we need people to sacrifice time to help on Sunday, we all have to answer the question, “How are you making disciples?” You do not get to swap serving with a command to make disciples - you are instructed to do both. Again, invite the people you are discipling into the days and places you are serving. Lead them in what it looks like to sacrifice and serve the Body of Christ - our family. This is just one place for you to be leveraged for the gospel. Remember, you can leverage your time serving to also make disciples in life-on-life.
“I Am Not ‘Leader Material’”
Having a leadership title does not equal disciple making. Sure, small group leading is a good tool in making disciples, but the lack of a title does not disqualify you from making disciples. I have three guys in my village, all who lead grow groups or huddles; none have a village to lead. God willing they will be leading soon, but they started to do what God commanded of them before they felt the call to lead a group of people. Do not be afraid of leading. You do not need to have a specific personality type to lead. Kill that lie. God overcomes our insecurities, fears, and doubts in our abilities, even our abilities to lead. On our own strength we are all unequipped for this. Don’t give in to the lies of comparison and let God equip you to be a person of influence where he has you.
“If I Don’t Have A Leadership Title, My Church Doesn’t Care About Me”
I have felt this lie sink in the air when I have conversations with upperclassmen who are not in the game. They don’t have to say it, but I feel it roll off them. I want to kill this lie. You are loved by your community. When we sit you down and ask you to lead a grow group, serve on Sunday, or even lead village, it is not for our own benefit, but so you can be used by God. We see Jesus in you. We see godliness that is multipliable, and we want to see Heaven here on Earth. We see how God could use you to expand His kingdom. Believe that.
There is the temptation to sit on the bench and not get in the game because of fears and insecurities. Those feelings are real, and it is okay to feel that, but do not live in those feelings. There is a need for us to feel the weight of urgency and acknowledge that there are people we know and love who are headed to an eternity without Christ. God wants to use you and your unique story. He has given it to you to reach those who may relate to it. He loves them and wants a relationship with them; let Him use you to make that happen. We want to be closer to God. We do that by being a part of His mission, not by showing up to religious events. God is a missional God, therefore we must be a missional people. It’s time to get out of the dugout and get in the game.