Sharing stories has come to be one of the things I am learning to value more. It is through stories that we connect to one another. It is through stories that truths are conveyed. By me sharing parts of my story, and you sharing parts of yours, perhaps we may get a better perspective of one another and appreciate more of the person the other is becoming.
I’m a Minnesota native, born and raised in Rochester. Amazing family, supportive, godly and encouraging parents, helpful friends and lots of church life. In high school, I started reading frequently, discussing ideas and expanding worldview with a few key friends, started sensing a pull to serve in a different church than the one in which I grew up. During my junior/senior years, both me and my best friend Brian joined the other church and its youth group leadership, small groups and the worship music team, and there met and became the best of friends with two brothers in particular, Seth and Nate. I spent more time with leaders and volunteering. I began to question my own faith, which was largely picked up from my parents and previous church, and found it to be a little too rigid for my taste, a little too based on being busy looking good to other people, but not a thriving personal connection in which I listened and spoke freely with Jesus. I like to think that he saved me from a life of stifled, functional legalism, from a life of mediocrity. Especially with reading and challenging my own and others’ worldview while intentionally seeking Jesus, the conversations became more about not just doing, but becoming. Community and intentional relationships came into focus, Scripture came more alive, and God more personal.
The summer after graduating high school, I went with the church to a missions trip called PowerPlant, which engages students in church planting. We went to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for a week, learning what Scripture says about the Church, what church planting is, and how it’s one of the best forms of meaningful evangelism, plus how the US is one of the largest growing mission fields in the world. Learning in sessions every morning, then spending the afternoons and evenings serving with a local church plant displayed the connection of incarnational, community-oriented missional living. The previous year, Nate had travelled as the worship leader with the leadership team that ran the PowerPlant projects, and through that experience, the concept of church planting grew in him to clarify his calling to be a church planter and pastor.
A number of internal shifts were at work within me, largely influenced by my refreshing, new friendships and a burst of opportunities to explore. As I’ve reflected on these very formative years of my life, it’s amazing to think that God injects catalysts for change into our stream of life, that we may taste anew, chase more meaning and connect more sincerely with people. God seems to have a knack for providing inciting incidents to get us off the couch of routine and blase, to go on another chapter’s adventure in the story of our lives.
How does your story begin?