This post will be one of the rawest, most personal ones you’ll see. I was conflicted on whether or not I even wanted to post such a personal glimpse of my life and decided to go ahead with it. We have all lost someone we care about. I want this blog to be just what the title says: life according to a Christian millennial in the church. The implications of that include seeing the happy times in my life but also the trials that produce sadness.
The Bacone community lost a fellow brother in Christ, beloved professor, mentor, and friend yesterday morning and it was announced this afternoon. Dr. Gideon Sein was an incredible asset to Bacone’s science department. He also taught Sunday School at Boulevard Christian Church.
The reason I mention this—he was a strong spiritual influence on me. I took his Human Biology class at 8am one semester following the worst year ever in my life. I was almost irreparably broken and on the verge of suicide. He taught me more about ministry and discipleship than any Christian Ministry class I’ve taken. Due to a year spent enduring severe emotional and spiritual trauma, I had no idea what unconditional love was. Through the love that had to come from his relationship with Christ, he taught me what it meant to love someone unconditionally. There was a 6-week window where I was the only student in our lab sessions. The most sacred spiritual conversations I’ve ever had to this day happened in that science lab. Quoting Scripture while looking through a microscope at skin cells are things I still remember. I remember him asking me about my relationship with Christ while we were discussing graft vs. host, comparing skin and tissue cells, and learning how to diagram skin cells. It was my first time experiencing ministry outside the church.
He knew how spiritually wounded I was and he was the only person in my life who I felt safe enough with to confide in. He took me under his wing. I was in so much emotional, mental, and spiritual pain that I had no idea how I would make it through the day hour-by-hour. I was existing by taking each day literally breath-by-breath. I was that severely depressed and suicidal. The love he showed me was what saved my life. I transferred to NSU the following semester and he kept in close contact with me. Because he made health science seem so fun, I took Anatomy and Physiology. He kept in close contact with me and the only way I got an ‘A’ in the class was due to his coaching on how to memorize all the bones in the body and how to diagram all the muscles.
I share this because we should all aspire to be that person to someone else. Discipleship doesn’t have to take place solely at church, a Bible study, or in another ministry setting. For me, it took place in a classroom at 8am. I say this to encourage anyone reading this to begin praying for God to send you someone to pour into. This is how we make disciples. As a student mentor with a temperament that consists of enjoying solitude and working solo a little too much, it pushes me out of my comfort zone. I’ve said this before. Iron sharpens iron. You don’t need to be trained to pour into someone—you do it by loving on that person and through that, they’ll see Jesus in you. When I mentor my girls, I legally can’t mention religion due to the program being federally state funded. I try the best I can to show God’s love through how I present myself, how I talk, and how I interact with them. Discipleship doesn’t happen in a vacuum. That’s a lesson another mentor has spent a year ingraining in my head. It wasn’t until just a few weeks ago that I really understood what that meant. We as Christians can’t be afraid to hold back in ministering to others. That’s a lesson I am still learning. I haven’t mastered it yet by any means, but I’m working on it.
In closing because I don’t want this to be too lengthy, I want to encourage whoever is reading this to begin praying for boldness to share your faith with others. Taking it one step further, I want to also challenge you to begin praying for God to send someone in your life to share your faith with whether it be someone at school or a coworker. If you already have someone in mind, I want to also challenge you to begin praying for that person. In keeping with the ongoing theme of “Unity in the Community”, this is part of how we make our community better—by pouring into someone and that person pouring into someone else. Together, we can be the change we wish to see in our community.
Love and light,
Sein, Gideon M., 73, Connors State College and Bacone College professor, died Monday. Service 10 a.m. Saturday, Boulevard Christian Church. Cornerstone.
“…and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:24-25
Tonight was eye-opening, sobering, and enlightening all at the same time. I think this will be one of several posts where I reveal more of myself than I would normally. I am an incredibly private person. I don’t necessarily post my personal political views or anything of that sort on any of my social media profiles. I have to admit that I am both heavy-hearted and a little alarmed by some things I learned tonight at the community forum. I personally believe that it’s not about where we’ve been but where we’re going. In that, it’s also about knowing where we’ve been so we know where we’re going. I was listening to the various pastors and community members that spoke. The one thing I kept hearing over and over and over:: We need more people to get out and vote. We need more people to be willing to step up and get involved. When I say “More people”, I’m also talking to myself.
I feel that I had a bit of a unique perspective. I was viewing tonight’s meeting from the lens of a millennial in the church but also as a young woman who is concerned about a community not far from where I live. Since I’ve been attending FBC Summit and been involved in the church through the women’s ministry, Sunday worship, the praise team, and now as part of this newer collegiate social media outreach/support ministry, I have developed a strong heart for the Muskogee community.
Being a millennial in the church, I’m part of a dying breed. Recent statistics have shown that 50 years ago, 80% of America went to church. Today, 80% of people are out of the church. Personally speaking—this is not okay!! I feel that as a millennial, the best way for me to learn to serve in my community and get involved has to start with first serving in the church. I spent some time decompressing from all of this tonight and as I was meditating on what all was said, the main thing I kept hearing in my head was “Stewardship.”
I admit, I am so incredibly guilty about being apathetic about my community—both Wagoner, where I live, and Muskogee. God convicted me of that. Something that was said tonight was “If you’re going to complain without igniting or inspiring change, you have no agenda at all”. It resonated with me. Back in high school, I took AP Honors History where we had to attend so many city council meetings and a few school board meetings. I used to love stuff like that so tonight was definitely a blessing to get to experience that again. The sense of unity and community among the clergy that were represented tonight was beautiful!
I am active in a collegiate ministry on both the Bacone and Connors campuses called BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministries). At the BCM building in Warner, there’s a small plaque that hangs by the main door of the building that says, “You are now entering your mission field”. Muskogee is our mission field. It was a sobering wakeup call to my heart. I have a huge fire for missions. I’m a Christian counseling major and want to ultimately do postmodern Christian counseling on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Tonight’s event showed me that if I can’t adequately serve in my own community, I have no business serving on the mission field anywhere else. I am including myself in this—the apathy need to stop. The division needs to stop. It’s past time for us to become more united.
Going along with “Unity in the Community”, both as members of this community but also as the Body of Christ, we need to be better stewards of our community. I want to take this time to challenge everyone to go to forum discussions like the one that was held tonight. Go to a school board meeting. Meet with your city council. Talk to your state representatives about an issue you feel strongly about. Get involved! The only way we can become more unified is to band together, take initiative, and be the change we wish to see.
No man is an island unto themselves and iron sharpens iron. No one can do this on their own. We need each other not to just survive, but to thrive.
In closing, I want to leave you a chance for application. Try to think of different ways you can get involved in bettering your community. Let’s discuss ideas in the comments section!
Love and light,
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness:: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate:: Only love can do that.”-- Martin Luther King Jr.
Today, I had the pleasure and the honor to be in the presence of 3 amazing, wise, and passionate pastors. I was encouraged and challenged to be the change I wish to see in not just my campus and church, but ultimately my community. I will be the first to admit that I struggle with unity. Gary Underwood, a local pastor, spoke about unity in the community. It convicted my heart and put so much into a new perspective. Just like he challenged his congregation, I am challenging whoever is reading this.
There are a few things from Gary's message that I want to to share with you. As I sit here thinking about the greater Muskogee area, my heart aches. There is such a strong spirit of of division. We as the Body of Christ need to rise up, get prayed up, and become one. I want to challenge each and every person reading this to really think about the community they live in.
The biggest thing I want to stress in the space here is this:: People matter to God, therefore they should matter to us. (Ephesians 4:4-6) A question raised this morning was, “Who is our neighbor?” The answer to that is simple-- anyone who isn't us.
Speaking from the context of being unified in the Body of Christ, Pastor Underwood stated 3 things necessary for us to be able to have unity, not just in our own individual places of worship but to better unify the community at large.
I want to leave you with these words from Dr. King::
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”
Let this be the year we all decide to speak out. Let this be the year we bring unity to our communities. Let this be the year we love and embrace our neighbors.
Love and light,