It’s been a full week… and it’s only Wednesday! Personally, I came into this trip with high expectations, and I’m thrilled to say they’ve been exceeded already. Students are serving and students are leading. They’re pushing themselves out of their comfort zones and taking risks without us adults needing to tell them to do so. Parents, every single one of you has many reasons to be proud of your teen!
Lessons From James
Over this week we have been studying the book of James, which was written to the Jewish believers who were scattered throughout the Roman world. Since they were foreigners living outside of Israel, they faced many challenges and trials. Instead of giving into discouragement, James encourages them to give thanks, “…because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:3-4, NIV). The trials we endure make us more like Christ, and that’s something to be thankful for!
Because of this, we should not fear challenges or failure or risks. Instead, we live with an attitude of faith, seeking to become more and more like Jesus. We refuse to show prejudice or discrimination (James 2:1-13), and instead we look for ways to add good works to our faith. Faith is the root, good works are the fruit… because faith without action isn’t really faith at all, it’s just a bunch of good ideas.
I have been incredibly blessed by seeing our students taking hold of this biblical pattern of life and putting it into action throughout each day. The devotional provided by LeaderTreks has used multiple Bible Study methods which students will be able to use when they get back home. Again, I can’t say enough about how effectively the LeaderTreks staff has grounded our ministry in Scripture and the Gospel… I’m blown away.
We’re Getting A Lot Done… But There’s Still More To D0!
So far this week, we have assembled a bunk bed, painted 1 1/2 bunk beds, learned how to repair holes in drywall and put in the needed patches, sanded and painted a large storage shelf, and we’ve begun work on repairing the decks outside the family’s trailer. We’ve also completed two days of our VBS program at Teach My People, which has been completely prepared and led by our students (adults are serving in support roles, according to roles assigned by students).
Our to-do list for tomorrow looks like this:
- Replace stairs to front porch
- Finish balusters on back porch #1
- Replace balusters on back porch #2
- Complete securing bed slats on bunk bed #1
- Complete painting bunk bed #2
- Start securing bed slats on bunk bed #2
- Move and secure storage shelf (secured so it doesn’t tip, as it will be used as a divider in the living room to create a more separate bedroom area for the kids)
- Emphasize the Bible Memory verses during VBS and review them in each station.
- Create a new skit to emphasize our week’s theme during the program introduction.
- Create “Verses To-Go” cards with a key verse and the references for the three memory verses for the kids to take home.
I think we’ll be busy!
There have been many leadership lessons this week. That shouldn’t be a surprise when you’re working with a ministry named LeaderTreks… but I am constantly impressed with how prepared our students were for the leadership opportunities. That’s not my doing, so please don’t misunderstand this… God has been at work in these students leading up to this week, He has been stretching them and growing them throughout this week, and I am confident He will continue to use them when we return home!
One of my struggles this week has simply been the challenge of regularly stepping back. As a leader, I’m so used to filling the leadership needs myself that I need to be intentional about stepping back in order to create space for students to step up. On the work site we split into multiple teams, with different students assigned as the team leader each day who oversees the project and assigns roles to team members. Students are also responsible for cooking, cleaning, and loading up materials required for each day.
Every Christian is a Leader
Leadership looks different for different types of people. Some students take the bull by the horns and are comfortable stepping in front of others and talking. Others prefer leading in the background through simple quiet words of encouragement, inspiring others to make the wise and godly decision. Leadership has many forms, but it always involves some sort of risk, because your leadership can be rejected… and when that happens it feels like you are being rejected. But leadership is worth the risk, because every Christian is called to live in such a way that we are making disciples. Wherever you are, whomever is around you – may your faith root you in God’s Word while you bear fruit through good works.