Author: Julia Campbell
I’ve always loved the quote by Jim Elliot that says, “Wherever you are, be all there.” I love this not because I’m good at living it out, but because I’m not.
I’ve always struggled with discontentment. My heart and mind is always advancing to the next big thing. It’s energizing. I fantasize about what the next year or season will look like in my life. I long for change, only for the good, or when it benefits me in some way of course.
Yet the problem with this way of thinking is it causes me to live in the future not the present. I miss out on the many rich blessings and opportunities that the Lord has given me here and now. Ones that won’t be there next week, next year, or when I’m fifty. I lose sight of why God has placed me in this season of my life. I’m distracted by things I hope will happen. Things that are not promised to me. Things that may not even happen or be part of God’s plan. I don’t know about you but that scares me. I would hate to miss out on how the Lord desires to use me because I’m simply not paying attention.
Right now, I’m fighting against discontentment. There will always be a season in life when you want the next big thing to happen – whether that’s to move out of our parent’s house, graduate from college, get a new job, get married, or start a family. I’m not saying you shouldn’t plan or be excited about the future. I’m simply saying it shouldn’t consume your thoughts so much that it stops you from “being all there” here and now – where God has placed you. Be patient. Allow Him to use you. Bear much fruit in the specific season He’s placed you in.
It was the first week of staff orientation when we were told our ministries for the year. I was nervous, hoping it was something I would be passionate about. I was handed a plain piece of paper with the words FRESHMEN printed in big bold letters.
I clearly remember being filled with excitement! My thoughts raced to brainstorm what it would look like to minister to this specific group of people. I had excitement and expectancy of what freshman ministry, specifically in the dorms, could look like. Things changed when it became time to actively pursue that dream.
Fear paralyzed my actions. Fear of looking like an idiot. Fear of not being liked. And fear of failing. Months went by without any progress. There was even a point where I hoped I would somehow get out of doing it. One day I was journaling, processing my thoughts, and being completely honest with the Lord about how I felt. I realized that all my fear was rooted in myself – me, me, me. I was walking in fear, not the hope I have in Jesus Christ who is sovereign over all. “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” I started praying about freshman ministry more, asking the Lord show me how He wanted to use me and share His desires for what this ministry should look like.
It wasn’t long till I began dreaming of starting a Bible Study in the dorms. I yearned for a place where non-believing freshman could come and experience the gospel, where girls could find community in a dark and often lonely environment, and learn what it means to be a woman after God’s own heart.
The Lord is so faithful! He not only gave me those desires, but provided the people and the place to make it all happen. He did, not me. By the first week of Winter Term, the Lord provided the perfect meeting place close to campus and three believing freshman girls (all who live in different dorms and have different circle of friends) to join in! This week is our fourth time meeting. In total there are six girls who come regularly! I’m blown away by the Lord’s faithfulness in bringing all of this together despite my fears. The Lord had a plan the whole time. And I’m having so much fun being used by Him in this way!
Branch Brunch is a time to get to know more about our church and ask questions. This class is also a requirement to become a member. Our next Branch Brunch is scheduled for Sunday, February 26th at 10:30 am. If you are interested in attending please email Josh Howeth.
Do you want your prayer life to grow and flourish? Do you want to have a better understanding of prayer and or even how to pray? Join us Thursday mornings from 9:30-10:30 am at 224 NW 26th St, Corvallis (Sigma Phi Epsilon) as we pursue growing in our relationship with God through our prayer lives’. Together we’ll discuss the topics of adoration, petition, intercession, perseverance, listening and warfare. Each week will consist of training, discussion, and implementation. Contact Davey Walker for more information.
There will be a meeting for all Twigs volunteers on Sunday, February 26th at 3:30 pm at The River Center. Families only need to send one representative to the meeting. Contact Christina Law for more information.
This year we are asking members of the Branch to apply for Local Mission Grants, which seek to come alongside member’s ministry ideas/endeavors with financial support. The purpose of Local Mission Grants is to seek and mobilize people at the Branch toward a unified local mission project and goal. If you’re interested in leading a new local missions initiative, fill out the application and send it to Stephen Brucker.
The Global Mission Pipeline is simple—it’s a training program to help equip and cement a foreign mission DNA within an individual. Within the program, you’ll read books, walk with a coach, write papers, and be exposed experientially to ministering cross-culturally. If you’d like more information please contact Stephen Brucker.
Before starting this internship, I had a pretty naive idea of what ministry as a job looked and felt like. What could be better than devoting the majority of my day to sharing the Gospel, spending time with the Lord, and encouraging people in their faith? Nothing is better and more fulfilling than that, yes. But ministry is also very draining, messy, and humbling.
Every day I get to tell people about Jesus and encourage them in their walk with the Lord. While this is encouraging for myself in many ways, what I didn’t realize was that I would spend hours each day listening to people talk about their disappointments and struggles. Some of those people without the hope of Jesus Christ as their Savior. I didn’t realize that those conversations could take away so much of my energy. Before I discovered I had a limit to how many people I could effectively meet with in a day, I often thought and acted in the flesh rather than in the spirit during conversations. I was too drained from previous conversations, earlier in the day, to be fully present with those I met with next. I tried to do it all in my own strength rather through the Lord’s, which is when it became draining.
I also didn’t realize ministry could be so messy. How could it be when you’re working alongside the Body of Christ? If you think about it though, ministry is people working together. As people, we are sinful and broken so therefore working with each other is difficult at times. We all experience moments of defeat, we have miscommunications, or fail to see eye-to-eye on things. It isn’t always rainbows and sunshine.
The aspect of ministry that has effected me the most since starting this internship is humility. Without a doubt, this has been some of the most emotional months of my life. I am constantly humbled through the Lord revealing my sins to me. Someone close to me gave me insight into why this specific season of my life was leading me to uncover my sins. They pointed out that because of this internship, I’ve been spending more time with God, thinking about Him, reading His word, and actively living for Him. Awareness of my own brokenness is overwhelmingly enhanced because I’m daily reminded of my need for God.
With all these new discoveries about the hardships that come with ministry, I’ve learned so much about the God we serve and His faithfulness to those who love Him. I tried to do things on my own – thinking that taking a break or allowing the Lord to help would be a sign of weakness. But it turns out that I AM WEAK. I can’t do it all on my own. Praise the Lord for his continuous grace, and his strength beyond anything I’ve ever felt before. Jesus is the reason I can do ministry every day. I’ve seen the importance of mini-retreats with the Lord, reflecting on my weakness, and being humbled by His strength. I’ve also learned to extend more grace and love to those that I work with. Oh how great and good is the God we worship for showing me all these things.
In closing, I want to share something my mom told me awhile back that I’ll never forget. She said, “Lately I’ve been praying, ‘Lord, reveal my sin to me so that I have no choice but to run to the cross.’” That’s a profound prayer to pray because the Lord will answer it if you ask Him to! As your sin is revealed to you, you’ll humble yourself before the Lord and discover that God’s grace and love for you is larger than you’ve ever known before. Even though ministry is draining (when done in your own strength rather than through God’s), messy, and humbling, it’s more than worth it because I get to be a part of growing God’s Kingdom and learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
Branch Brunch is a great place to ask questions and hear about the purpose and values of our faith community. Our next Branch Brunch will be held on Sunday, October 30th at 10:30 am. This Brunch is
necessary if you are interested in becoming a member. If you are interested in attending contact Josh Howeth to RSVP.
The Members Forum is a time for members of The Branch to come together and hear about where we’ve been and where we are headed, make decisions as a church, welcome new members and share a meal together. If you are a member of The Branch please make plans to attend on Sunday, November 20th from 6:30-7:30 pm (immediately following our Sunday gathering.) Childcare is also provided for our families.
Calling all College Students! We have got the first ever Young Life Fall Getaway just for COLLEGE STUDENTS! Our College Getaway is November 4-6 and is only $99. We are joining up with other colleges all throughout the northwest to have the best weekend of the year. There will be OVER 500 college students there. Take a break away from the chaos of school and get away to Washington Family Ranch for an amazing weekend of community, games, teachings, and personal introspection. You will not want to miss it. Contact Davey Walker if you have any questions.
The International Thanksgiving Dinner will be here soon. Every year we invite international students to experience a traditional American Thanksgiving meal. We need individuals and families to prepare food dishes in the days leading up to this event. Contact Trevor or Sarah for more information.
Hey ladies! Join us December 3rd, from 2-4 pm for an afternoon of fun, tea & treats. This will be a great opportunity to relax, meet other women in all stages of life at The Branch and lift each other up in prayer. Contact Victoria Renard if you plan to attend, or if you have any questions.