I came to Alabama with a true desire to serve the Lord with my time in college, jumping right into campus ministry at the BCM and getting involved with the church I was attending. Freshman and sophomore year I did everything- leadership team, discipleship group, Journey Group, volunteering, working a part-time job, etc. My goal was to serve and love Christ more, and the things I participated in helped me do that. And yet an ‘all about me’ attitude managed to root itself into my life right where I didn’t expect it- in ministry. With this build-my-resume, obligation-fueled attitude I ended up miserable, wondering why I wasn’t growing, and hiding behind all the churchy things I was participating in. As I tried to deal with sin in my life my immediate fix was serving more, trying to cover up my failures and struggles with all the activities that filled my planner every week. This was a recipe for loneliness, shame, burnout, and a head-first tumble into legalism. Somewhere along the way in my desire to serve the Lord I had let the serving become my faith, forgetting that Jesus was the way, not my works.
1 Timothy 1:8-10 says: “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share in suffering for the Gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of His own purpose and grace, which He gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”
Coming to college and jumping into ministry is wonderful. I encourage you to go for it and try all the things. Serve the Lord diligently and boldly, grow and be discipled, even suffer joyfully for his sake. But remember as you start classes, join clubs and Bible studies, make friends, and find a church that nothing you do affects the identity that you have in Christ. You can’t mess up badly enough to make Him love you less and you can’t achieve enough to make Him love you more. He just loves you. Purpose and grace existed for you before you existed, and the Lord’s desire for you does not come and go based on your performance.
You’re coming here to T-Town in the fall, fresh off of quarantine and probably an abrupt end to senior year or whatever season you were in. More than anything after being cooped up for so long, you’re probably going to want to do a lot of stuff when you get here. And you should. Do stuff and find what you’re passionate about and use it for the glory of the Lord. Do stuff and love others while you’re doing it. And most importantly, do stuff with a confidence that the stuff does not make you holy or make you good enough, Jesus Christ does. May His holiness and His love for you be the flag you wave in all your years here at Bama, and for the rest of your life.
Class of 2024, I can’t wait to meet y’all!
Lynchburg, VA // Raleigh, NC