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Trusting His Sufficiency

A week ago, 50 staff and students involved with Campus Outreach Minneapolis gathered at Camp Victory in Southern Minnesota for a weekend of fun, relationship building, and leadership training for the various summer events of the ministry.

What does it mean to be a leader? What is my role? Will I do a good job this summer? Do I have what it takes?

These are the same questions that echo in our heads every time the both of us start thinking too much about being the directors of the 2016 Summer Training Project. And if we had to guess, they are questions that everyone involved with the leadership team has asked themselves as they contemplate the summer, whether serving on the Summer Training Project (STP), Cross Cultural Project (CCP), or the Twin Cities Project (TCP).

At the retreat, talks and workshops were designed to help us better understand our role and give us resources to thrive as leaders, but they didn’t put all the questions to rest. In fact, the more we talked about the summer, the more inadequate we realized we really are. The task is daunting. Yes, we want this summer to be filled with fun memories, growing experiences at work, and deepening relationships with other students. But ultimately, we want students’ hearts to be changed by the good news of what Jesus Christ has done for us in his life, death, and resurrection. That is something that none of us have the power to do. We do not have what it takes to do the work that we would love to see happen in the lives of students.

So why are we here? Why pull together a team of 50+ students every summer to lead our summer events?

On the first night of the retreat, Paul Poteat, our regional director, used Exodus 3:11-14 to help us understand our place. Moses, when called to challenge Pharaoh and bring the nation of Israel out of slavery, realized his own inadequacy and asked a similar question.

“But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” He [God] said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” (Exodus 3:12)

The answer to Moses’ fear of inadequacy was God’s promise of the sufficiency of His presence.

The same promise is true today for as we look forward to the summer. We ought to feel insufficient when we think of our roles; without Him we are insufficient. But we are not alone. We can be confident leaders this summer because God promises to be with us, working in and through us to do what is good.

Please join us in asking God to do great work in students’ lives through the STP, CCP, and TCP, and ask him to help all of us to rest in his presence as we prepare to serve this summer.

David Cook & Emma Button
STP Student Project Directors



Rats, Llamas and Christian Leadership

The Rat Pack. House of Jacob. Bean Squad. Holy Ghostbusters. Super Drama Llamas.

You might be thinking, “Does that actually mean something? Has she gone crazy and started typing random things?”

That’s a legitimate question. But I haven’t gone crazy, and yes, each of those represents an STP team this summer. STP is divided into teams and then further divided into rooms to facilitate deep relationship growth and development; there are two team leaders over the whole team, and then each room has a room leader. I’ve talked in general about what it’s like to be on STP, but being a room leader is a whole different ball game. I am on the Rat Pack this summer, so I asked Nirmal and Christa, our team leaders, a few questions about what it’s like being in a leadership role.

What brought you back to STP as a leader this summer?

Christa: I was asked in November to consider being a team leader. I grew so much the last two summers, and each summer I learned something new; I was excited to learn more about sin and the gospel and myself, as well as to live in super intentional community for the summer.

Nirmal: I’m going on staff with Campus Outreach, and Mike Polley [campus director at the U of M] said it would be the most strategic thing for CO ministry for me to be here this summer. I wanted to help and serve wherever is most helpful, so I was totally willing to come back as a team leader.

How do you think your expectations have been different from reality so far?

Christa: I came in expecting being a team leader to be like being a room leader, but the team leader role is so different. Also I’m not working 40 hours a week, so this summer is more restful. Living with five team leader girls and getting to know the room leaders on my team is a lot sweeter and more exciting than I expected.

Nirmal: I think I expected it to be harder and to encounter more challenges so far, but it has felt really natural to build relationships with the guys on my team and others. I’m anticipating things getting harder, but for now I’m enjoying it being surprisingly easygoing.

What’s been your biggest challenge as a leader?

Christa: Leading a team with each room and girl having very different personalities and figuring out what’s most helpful for each girl has been a challenge. Deciding what questions to ask to get to the heart of issues is much more of a person-by-person decision than I thought, but it’s good. It makes you think more about everything.

Nirmal: Balancing all of my different priorities this summer has been hard: investing in the room leader guys on my team, the disciples in their rooms, and guys from the U of M. Going to Athletes In Training has been helpful in that, since a lot of those guys are involved in it. I’m also raising support for the coming fall to be on staff so prioritizing has become key. Getting rest in the midst of all that has been hard, but it’s been good to learn.

How are you seeing glimpses of God’s work and the gospel in what you’re doing?

Christa: I’m learning a ton about forgiveness: how it practically works with my relationship with the Lord and my peers. The first theme talk about the prodigal son hit me hard. I realized I’m like both the younger and older son; I desire the Lord but run the other way. That realization has been convicting and beautiful at the same time.

Nirmal: I’ve talked to guys or heard from others about how the talks have been impactful: guys are seeing the depths of their sin in a new way and understanding more of what’s going on in their hearts, which I’m excited is laying groundwork for great growth throughout the summer.

Being a leader is never easy. But seeing Jesus in a new and deeper way and having the privilege of watching God work in others’ lives are unique in Christian leadership; leadership changes you way more than it changes anyone you’re leading. It’s absolutely worth it.