By: Austin Knight & Nick James
First Church Student Pastors
On the 4th day of CIY: MOVE 2018 sleep has transitioned from optional to needed, MOVE friends have transitioned to best friends and made official via an Instagram post, dorm room pranks have lost creativity (we may have participated in one, maybe two), lost room keys have become the norm, the desire for freshman boys to find their soul mate have washed up, blog post < sleep (this is why we are writing today), the Chewbacca mask has been worn by nearly everyone from FC and has now become a full-time student, (“oh, you’re from First Church? That’s the church with Chewbacca! Awesome!”), and, most importantly we have reached the point where the students realize that this is all about JESUS. Conversations inside of small groups have transitioned from a surface level meet and greet to deeply hearted, fully transparent, meaningful, life-changing conversations. This is exactly what we have prayed for.
As young, student pastors we have realized quickly that we can easily bite off more than we can chew. There is a huge difference in trusting God with our plan versus listening to God and His plan. For MOVE 2018, we have been put to the test. We had to make a decision.
In October, we had to wake up early (sometimes that's hard for us) and pre-register for 2018 MOVE. Not only did we have to tell CIY how many tickets we wanted to purchase but also front the cost for each expensive, non-refundable ticket. While we knew that we had grown as a ministry since the last trip, this doesn’t always equate to more camp attendees. We prayerfully landed on the number 100. 20 more than the previous year. This increase changed a few things, bigger busses, more leaders, better communication, and more TRUST in Him.
On day 4 we now look back and once again are reminded, His plan is better than ours. We can say with confidence 100 was the exact number of tickets we needed to purchase. The last ticket for this trip belongs to a young man that we met during a Pastor On Call hospital visit 3 days before the trip. The full story behind this is powerful and can best be described with the biblical story of how God is in constant search of the 1 sheep while leaving the flock of the 99.
Many of you have joined us in the efforts to fill these spots. Students prayed, tweeted, Instagrammed, text, and handed out invites to many. Adults prayed, supported, encouraged, promoted and donated. We are thankful for every ounce of this.
As we near the end of this journey in Michigan, our new prayer is to take all that we have been given with us past this week and implement that into our daily walk as a Christian. MOVE is unique and special for many reasons. We have the opportunity to hear some of the best communicators of the Gospel from across the world both in teaching and worship, and we eliminate all the stresses and normalcy of our lives for 5 days. Both of these are temporary. We soon will go back home to our own beds, eat our own food, have the option of attending church and small group each week and make our own daily decisions that determine our next steps with Christ. What isn’t temporary are the relationships. On this trip, we have 19 leaders who volunteered this week to love on your student the way that Jesus would. These leaders have been stretched just as much as the students this week. As a student ministry, we have a total of 42 adults that are volunteering weekly. Many of these adults already have formed relationships with your student through Advance. These leaders and the relationships they have formed are crucial for any person desiring to be more like Jesus. If you’re a parent of any student, here at MOVE or not, we ask that you be in prayer for these leaders. Make a daily reminder to pray for each of them, we can also provide you with names to help personalize your prayer time. We also ask that you encourage these leaders whenever you are able to. We are constantly amazed by these people and their hearts. They volunteer their time to love on and do life alongside students. Not for only 1 hour/week but through text messages, hanging out, visiting student events and being a friend in big moments. We also challenge you to challenge your student to understand the significance and opportunity they are presented with by being involved in this ministry. MOVE has challenged these students to step out of the darkness and into the light of Christ. Not alone, with a leader. This theme couldn’t apply to the philosophy of First Church any better. With a mission to become a disciple-making church through relational engagement (small groups) and leadership development
(discipling/mentoring relationships), the MOVE students have a deeper understanding of the importance of having a Christ-Following example/leader in their life.
We encourage you to help and partner with us as we wrap up this trip. In your family, make Advance as big of a priority as homework or a baseball game. These leaders are present and available to you and your students. Don’t miss this opportunity.
Life is better alongside each other.