A Long-term Vision of Renewal
Posted on December 21, 2023 by Jon Trotter
In his internship with SLAQ, Devin is learning and growing in ways he could not have imagined, just as the program itself carries a vision for the younger generation to impact the world.
By Devin Stipe
In Christian missions there is often this big focus on sending and going. People are sent across the country, across national borders, and across seas. The idea is that they go, and either reach a new people group or go to a people who have not yet accepted Christ. I love this. I love that God has put such a bold and adventurous spirit into his people to go and do these hard things, that there are believers who are willing to lay down their life in order to give spiritual life to another. Thanks be to God.
That said, however, what I really appreciate about the SLAQ (Servant Leader Quest) program is that instead of going out to make as many new disciples as possible, SLAQ takes a handful of youth who already have a relationship with Christ, and provides an opportunity for them to become particularly strong disciples. In the same way that Christ would go from place to place, inviting the multitudes to follow him, he also had twelve disciples who he would teach more privately and intentionally. Both are good and both are needed. Both are of Christ. SLAQ is like Jesus teaching the twelve disciples.
The SLAQ vision is for a small group of servant leaders to go out into the world to be little Christs. It’s a vision that lasts a lifetime.
The interesting thing about SLAQ to me is that I don’t expect to physically see a fruitful harvest from it. So much of the vision for SLAQ is exactly that: a vision or a dream. And that vision extends beyond my internship. It extends years and even decades into the future. The vision is for the younger generation to be fully alive for the good of our community. It’s a vision of a small group of servant leaders going out into the world to be little Christs. It’s a vision that lasts a lifetime. In SLAQ, I see my role as that of a gardener who waters a plant for a short while and then prays to God to give the increase and an abundant harvest to feed many people.
At the same time, I am growing and being watered by others. I am nurtured foremost by God, and by SLAQ leader Ken Wettig and my VMMissions coach Martin Rhodes. I appreciate the ways that SLAQ is positioning me to do things that I wouldn’t do otherwise. I’m assigned to things that challenge me and teach me. I learn what I’m good at and what I’m not so good at. For example, working with kids was not something that I’d claim to be good at. I never would have chosen that for myself. But God has chosen it for me at this time, to teach me and grow me as his servant. While I wouldn’t say that I’m necessarily good at it, I do enjoy it, and it’s opened my imagination to future ministry opportunities that I never would have even considered without encouragement from my coaches at VMMissions, and this tranSend internship with SLAQ.
I’m excited to see what good comes from the communities that SLAQ youth will get involved in. I can only imagine that luke-warm brothers and sisters will have their spiritual fire rekindled by the Christ-like leadership of those who participated in SLAQ. In my own college campus ministry, I see the wonderful, powerful effect that a community leader can have in bringing people together. This is someone who directs others to a well of living water like a sign in a desert.
When the vision is for servant leaders to live and share abundant life in Jesus, I can only plant seeds and water them for a short time. But I am praying and expecting that the Lord will bring a plentiful harvest through this program.