Aimless Small-Town Kid to Kingdom Ambassador

God gripped the life of one Mizzou college student who now serves in reaching others who were just like him.

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Aimless Small-Town Kid to Kingdom Ambassador

Mike Heath | Apr 26, 2018, 20:06 PM

God gripped the life of one Mizzou college student who now serves in reaching others who were just like him.

Aimless, craving something “more”
Growing up I always experienced that longing for something more. I wanted to change the world. I thought I could accomplish that through being a Navy SEAL, until I realized I had a fear of water (that I have since conquered). Maybe I could change the world through music. However, I don’t have much rhythm. That didn’t pan out either. Nonetheless, I had this craving for something more. I tried filling this through relationships, accolades in sports, or accomplishments in theatre. I like to say I was one of my hometown’s Troy Boltons (does anyone even get that reference from High School Musical anymore?). Still the hunger for more just couldn’t be satisfied. A craving I can now identify as a need for transcendence.

Ambushed by His Grace
It wasn’t until I moved to the University of Missouri as a freshman that my soul became more restless and bothered by this craving for more than what the world had to offer. I was no longer one of the big fish in the pond of my small, Missouri town. I felt empty with no real purpose in life. I would walk around campus thinking, “Really, is this all that there is to life? If so, this sucks. I want more than this. It just doesn’t satisfy.” However, God was relentlessly pursuing me through placing His followers in my life.

From the Christian guy who lived across from me in my dorm that befriended me to my resident advisor (RA) who played drums at the Rock Campus Church and invited us to church, Jesus was beginning to ambush my life with His Grace. My new friend and I decided to accept his invitation to church the first Sunday of the school year. I thought it was weird. The church met (and still meets) in a lecture auditorium, not a church-building sanctuary. Most of the people there were between the ages of 18 to mid-20s. The lights were turned way down low. Yet, this Jesus they spoke of was one I had not known but definitely had my attention. I came back every Sunday and joined a group for freshman wanting to learn more about what it means to live for God. This Jesus was shown to me to be the answer to all my longings for more. He is redemption, freedom, life, everything.

After a semester of hearing the gospel preached and lived out in the Rock’s community, I began realizing my need for Christ. The truth from Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us that even while we were still sinners Christ died for us,” began to take root in my heart. I became broken over my sin against my Creator. I began to believe in the One who died in my place so I could have a reconciled relationship with God. The grace of God started leading me to repent of some of the patterns of sin I was living in. In January 2013, I surrendered my life to Him and began a relationship with my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Made an ambassador for Christ
As a student, God used The Rock Campus Church to teach me what it means to follow Christ and to live as an ambassador for the Kingdom of Christ. I began learning how to read the Bible, share the gospel, and live out my new identity in Christ. God began to mature me through stepping into leadership positions within the church and participating in Collegiate Church Network’s summer discipleship program. In the midst of these experiences and growing as a follower of Christ, God really began refining me and deepening my conviction to impact college students for Christ, just as The Rock did for me. I believe the local church is the hope of the world, God’s chosen vehicle to draw people to Himself and grow his people in the knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ. After completing two summer internships with Reliant at the summer discipleship program in Estes Park, I was confident that the Lord was calling me into full-time campus ministry in the context of a local church at Mizzou.

Given the context of my calling, this meant I must raise my own support in order to do this ministry. Surprisingly enough, a church made up of predominantly college students doesn’t provide enough tithes to support church staff. Thankfully, Collegiate and The Rock are partnered with Reliant Mission. Upon graduation from Mizzou, I became a missionary with Reliant, serving at The Rock Campus Church. God led me through nine months of the ups and downs of full-time ministry team development but was faithful to provide all the funds for me to labor full-time for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Support raising has been one of the most rewarding, challenging, and refining areas of my life.

I am thankful to live this life as a support-based missionary where I am forced to believe in God’s provision for my daily bread. I truly am reliant on Him to provide as I labor to make Him known on campus with all His energy that He so powerfully works within me.