By: Leah Mobely, Resonate Ellensburg (soon-to-be Bozeman)
Right after I got home this summer, my grandpa died. He rejected speaking to the chaplain in his last days before he passed. He had a very rocky relationship with church and with God in the past. On the other hand, he displayed many characteristics of Jesus, especially through his love of us nine grandkids. Even though none of us were biologically his, he loved us as if we were. I really hope in his last moments that he found peace and ultimately chose Jesus. In all the times I saw him since I decided to follow Jesus and be a disciple of His for the rest of my life, I never once shared the gospel with him, or even asked him what he believed. The idea of sharing the gospel with family or friends actually scares me a little bit. Why is it that we can share with strangers or new friends, but we hesitate to share the deepest form of love with those whom we have always loved? We are all capable of sharing the Gospel with our families and friends, so why are they sometimes the hardest people to talk to about how Jesus has changed our lives?
I gave my life to Christ in college and He has done so much in my heart to soften and burden it for other people. But when I go back home, I find that it so easy to tumble back into the old, comfortable life that I had before I really knew Jesus. I constantly have full-blown arguments with my sister, and I have to bite back with some nasty comment when she says one to me. I swear a lot more being home and am not as disciplined in so many areas of my life and relationship with Jesus. The comfort of my hometown can be dangerous to my relationship with Jesus because I can essentially “get away” with not reading, praying, and spending time with Jesus, which comes from a deep-rooted heart issue of seeking comfort and stability. I found myself scared to tell my hometown community I am moving to Bozeman. I’m afraid they will not understand what a church plant is because in today's world, moving for anything besides a job or school is countercultural. When I catch up with a friend from high school I always regret not opening up about how Jesus has given my life and path so much more hope than it ever had before. We have to share the love of Jesus because His story can defeat the fear of vulnerability, embarrassment, and scrutiny. If His love displayed on the cross can cover the nasty and sinful parts of ourselves, then it can cover our fears and anxieties too.
As Paul wrote to Timothy, “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith,” (1 Timothy 1:5). This is a verse that I found this summer, and it reminded me of the simplicity of why I committed to follow the mission of God. Here are a few steps that I tried to take this summer to keep myself rooted in Christ and still living missionally over the summer.
Find an old friend from high school and fight for them through the awkwardness of catching up, because Jesus fought for us through more than just awkward conversations. Use your lunch breaks wisely at work, build connections with your peers, and get to know your co-workers. Share the Gospel with your family through kind words, good acts, and giving them grace. Tell your friends and family about what you do at school and give them insight on how your life is radically different than a normal college student and show them love from a pure heart.
The best piece of advice that I didn’t take this summer was to find someone who wanted to stay in touch and keep each other accountable for what we do over the summer. Find a friend who will encourage you to be uncomfortable at home. Ask someone who you trust will tell you the truth if you fall back into old sinful habits. We have the the power to saturate our summer with the Gospel or slip into the sinful past that we have worked on pulling away from. Accountability and repentance through community keeps our conscience clear and aimed towards a missional path.
Make. A. Schedule. It’s easier said than done, but if you just wake up and figure you’ll find time to read the Bible at some point, then some point becomes weeks. Make your schedule, build in a spot for your workout, dedicate an hour for prayer, and a find a consistent reading time. Make time to have intentional coffee or lunch with a friend or family member. When you spend time in prayer and the Word, you have peace of mind from Jesus. This keeps your faith sincere and rooted in Him on a daily basis.
The summer weeks at home were not easy, but I fought to spend that time wisely and missionally. Just because we leave our sites or our college towns, it doesn’t mean the mission of God stops. I am starting to understand the urgency of being missional at home. The gospel can be shared through words and through actions. It’s our responsibility as followers of Christ to show people how Jesus has transformed our lives. What better way to do that than show your family and friends who have known and stuck by you through your darkest and hardest points of life just like Jesus did has done?