This past Saturday, two friends from my small group at church got married. I had to drive close to an hour to get to the chapel, and along the way, I had to stop to buy batteries for my camera and gas for my car. So, by the time I arrived at the church, I was running late. The time was 1:59 p.m., one minute until the ceremony was scheduled to start. I could hear music as I walked down the hallway to the chapel, so I quickened my pace. Just as I approached the door, the music stopped, and I walked in to find all heads turned toward me, anticipating the entry of the bridal train. Sorry to disappoint, I’m not the bride…Not even on the bridal train. Just a tardy guest, please ignore me. I apologetically walked a short way down the aisle and took my seat among friends—one of whom turned to me and said jokingly, “Trying to steal the show, Simi?”
Mildly embarrassing experience :)
I was reflecting the other day on how we sometimes “try to steal God’s show,” showing up in entryways when heads are turned in expectation for help. Describing his role in accomplishing God’s plan, John the Baptist gave the analogy of a groom’s attendant who “waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice” (John 3:28). John acknowledged that his calling was fulfilled in pointing the way to Jesus Christ, and it was his joy to hear people say to him, “[The One] you testified about—well…everyone is going to him” (John 3:26). I have been praying that in all I do and say as I disciple students, I would not seek to draw attention to myself, but rather, point people to Jesus.
We started out the school year with a leadership retreat for students over Labor Day weekend. The retreat was by invitation only, and we had thirteen students attend from Carrollton and Plano (a neighboring city). Students were challenged to commit to living from an eternal perspective, and to invest their lives in the three eternal things: God, His Word, and People. Students left the retreat with their hearts renewed and with plans to live out the year with an eternal perspective.
We only had one girl able to come to the retreat from Carrollton. She shared with me that she had been reluctant to come when she found out she would be the only girl from her school. Praise God she came, because she left the retreat with a desire to reach her volleyball team for Christ. In pursuit of this desire, I have come alongside her to plan a Mystery Dinner for the freshman volleyball team. The dinner will be a time of fun and team bonding, and also a time for Christian girls on the Junior Varsity and Varsity volleyball teams to share their testimonies and the Gospel, and to invite the younger girls to become involved in discipleship.
God continues to grant us favor with the coaches and administrative staff at Newman Smith High School. Two days ago we had the opportunity to gather all the volleyball teams for a mini “team talk” during practice hours. We invited a former varsity volleyball player and Student Venture leader, Sasha, whom a lot of the girls had looked up to while she attended Newman Smith. Sasha talked briefly about her experiences as a high school student, and she got the girls excited about Student Venture. A girl on the Junior Varsity team stood and invited the freshman girls to the Mystery Dinner we’re planning for them.
I look forward to other opportunities to partner with the staff at Newman Smith to reach the students for Christ.
Pray for wisdom in reaching other “target groups” at Newman Smith High School. This year, I am praying about getting a few freshman girls Bible studies going, as well as continuing discipleship with upperclassmen. Leadership students have indicated a desire to reach the peers on the basketball, volleyball, and cross-country teams, and to begin Bible studies with these and other groups.
Continue to come alongside us in prayer that students will keep their eyes on the goal and not be sidetracked this year by myriad distractions that surround them.