What the Lord Taught Me at Rooted
I write from “The Left Coast” as I reflect upon how the Lord impacted me at this year’s Rooted Conference. We are known here in Pacific Northwest for liberal viewpoints, coffee, and LOTS of rain. But we are not known for belief in God among most of the population. Furthermore, it is challenging here to find youth ministries where the preached word is the central focus. Being at the conference was a refreshing change for me. Here’s a little of what the Lord did.
1) The Lord reminded me that the proclaimed Gospel is sufficient even when parts of my ministry are deficient.
The heartbeat of the conference was to celebrate and apply the redemptive realities of what Jesus did on the cross. I got a much needed reminder that it is Christ’s life, and NOT my fruitfulness or performance in ministry, that saves me and purchases God’s affections for me.
These truths freed me to honestly assess my ministry and identify areas needing revision. Between the messages, conversations, and gift book (Giving Up Gimmicks), God showed me areas needing attention. To name a few: development of volunteer Staff, more structured discipleship groups, and increased focus on prayer.
But I must embrace the Gospel as I move forward here. Even when parts are deficient (as if this would ever NOT be the case!), I am reminded that proclaiming the truths about who Jesus is and what he has done MORE than compensates for all my shortcomings! This is because we are called to preach the word (2 Tim 4:2), for the Gospel is the power of God for salvation (Rom 1:16)! I don’t have to rely on a ministry model, my programing, or myself, but rather on the glory of Christ as seen in the Gospel!
I’m so thankful that we are called to make much of Christ week after week (1 Cor 2:2), and that God uses His Word to bear fruit through our imperfect ministries.
2) The Lord convicted me because in light of how much He alone CAN do, and as much as I alone can NOT do; I don’t pray nearly enough!
How foolish I am tempted to be at times! Too often I embark upon sermon preparation, conversations with students, even writing this post, without asking God for the words, the heart, or the impact I so badly want to have. HE alone is the one to give the gift of faith. He alone is the one to give the growth (1 Cor 3:6). While we do the proclamation, He does the transformation (Luke 10). I need to be far more consistent and dependent in prayer than I am.
3) The Lord renewed my heart for the lost.
Traveling from Washington to Alabama was good for my soul. Yes, it gave me time to read, to be alone, and search for good southern BBQ and sweet tea. But something more significant happened. I saw lots of people! This seems obvious in airports, but it was refreshing. I can so easily see and interact with the same people week after week, and as a result, my passion for people discretely fades.
It was good to sit next to strangers and have to trust the Lord for the words to share the Gospel. It was good to hurt for the brokenness of others. It was good to see people of all races. It was good to know that though I can’t reach all these people, God can! And he uses ministries grounded in the proclaimed Gospel to reach the world one soul at a time.
May we stay faithful to the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
David Brashler serves as Youth Pastor at Living Water Community Church in Vancouver, WA.