Other than getting married or becoming a parent, I cannot think of another thing that could bring so much transformation into a person’s life that getting into the ministry. To call me naive would be an understatement when I signed up for fulltime ministry almost three years ago.
Over the last three years as a college pastor, I have experienced the joys of seeing students connect with God in new ways and I have also experienced heartbreaks of betrayal and division. Below are three things that I think are essential for every minister but especially those in college ministry, especially today. 1 Cor 13 lays it out like this: “and these three things will remain; faith, hope and love.”
Hope In Our Generation
Starting with the middle attribute, hope, I believe is essential. There is a lot of hopelessness in this world and it is attacking college students left and right. Hopelessness fuels their alcohol and drug induced sex parties, and ﬂows in the veins of the churched and unchurched alike. If you attend mega conferences like Passion, OneThing, etc you ﬁnd thousands upon thousands of burning sold out Christians hungry for revival in their generation. In the middle of the semester, there are many who continue to burn but just like all of us, the ferocity of our ﬁre wains.
Hope, for me seems to be the hardest battle to ﬁght. To really hope that God is going to change this generation and bring revival, a third great awakening. Without hope I slip into cynicism all to easily. But when my hope is in The Lord, I believe that He is not a man that would lie. He will come and set things on the right track again. Hope is critical in my heart as a leader, for my hope will inspire their hope.
Faith is equally important. I tend to be a pretty self sufﬁcient person. I really like being able to know that I can ﬁx situations. I’m kind of a control freak. I am not overly fond of depending on people or God to make things happen. This really complicates my life because the things that I want to see happen are supernatural and therefore require my absolute dependence and faith in God.
I have faith that He will provide ﬁnances monthly for me to do ministry, I have faith that He hears our feeble prayers and uses them to change circumstances on earth. I have faith that my daily actions which all to often seem super insigniﬁcant are in fact making eternal signiﬁcance. I have faith that He is pleased with me and us, and again I have faith that He is who He says He is. In my extreme weakness, He is strong.
Love, Past the Pain and Rejection
Love. The hardest of them all. The older I get, the more calloused I’ve become. All the hurts, rejections, disappointments, etc have taken their toll and have left me feeling quite loveless. Three years ago I sprang out of bed each morning and eagerly worked 15 hour days toiling for students that I loved. Today the task is weightier, and more laborious. Love is a choice today not an emotional high. Loving Jesus, is a choice too.
There are seasons where it’s all to easy to get caught up in the emotion of high worship, seeing Jesus in His beauty and 1 magniﬁcence. There are other seasons where it feels more like duty. Keeping the ﬂame of love alive and burning in my heart not only for Jesus but for His kids is critical. Without love, being in the ministry is pointless. Futile. Without love, I am a resounding gong. Noise. And if anyone can’t tolerate excess noise, it is this generation. Their ability to discern and cut through the noise is one of this generations greatest gifts.
Today, I am asking The Lord to increase in my life faith, hope and love. In the meantime some practical things that I can do to help cultivate these attributes in my life include personal times of prayer and worship. Keeping my ears attuned to his voice as He guides and directs each step is my priority. Fixing my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith is critical.
It is a discipline to keep my eyes on Him and not on circumstances. The battleﬁeld is in the mind. Thinking on things that are pure, lovely, noble and of good report is essential. Equally just as spiritually wise, is setting aside time for friends and fun. Joy is good medicine for the soul. Hopefully 2014 will bring more of all of this for all of us.
Jill Hurley is the Executive Director of Tech 24-7, a campus ministry at Texas Tech University which has invited students from all denominations and backgrounds to join together in the Campus House of Prayer (CHOP) and pray for our Texas Tech University. We also host a weekly gathering called Ekballo, which serves as a training ground to train students in how to practically do evangelism and discipleship as students. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Religion and Anthropology, and hopes to graduate in the next two years. Jill is single and taking applications for currently unfilled roles as husband and children. If you would like to apply for either, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. She is partially joking.