By NMC - January 26, 2017
Posted in Partnerships, Student Ministry, High School Ministry, Middle School Ministry, Stories from NMC
Every once in a while, when we’re paying close attention, squinting our eyes to see what God is doing, we get to be a part of something much bigger, much more important, much more significant than ourselves. In those moments, it’s not the event that’s the big deal; rather, it’s the million tiny nuances that accompany it. It’s the million tiny revelations that challenge the way we think, that push us outside of our comfort zone. It’s the million tiny questions we ask ourselves and those around us. It’s the million tiny experiences that make our world stretch and groan and expand. It’s the million tiny stories that pull us closer to the heart of the Father.
NMC Student Ministries have embarked on such a journey. They’ve presented a challenge to students, introduced them to people who show them another side of our world and asked students to dive in feet first.
This year, they are partnering with Transformation Ministries in South Bend to raise money for Transformation’s new ministry center. Much like they have done in the past, they will dedicate a week to pouring all of their time, talents and treasures into this ministry. Transformation Week will include a silent auction and a bake sale and other efforts to leverage resources for the Kingdom.
But this one week is not the big deal.
In the Near Northwest Neighborhood of South Bend, 30 miles from NMC, Transformation Ministries is investing in young men and women who are the future leaders of the Church, leaders of the city and leaders of the families who live in that city and who build the Church. Their mission is strikingly similar to that of NMC Student Ministries’. Both ministries exist to transform lives. Yet, the kids in these groups live worlds apart. They face distinctly different challenges and live in distinctly different cultures.
This partnership came out of a dream to help students build bridges. It came from a desire to help students step outside of their world and into another culture that is only 30 miles away. It came out of a passion to help students grasp the beauty and importance of missions in our backyard.
As Transformation and Student Ministries staffs talked, they decided to gather students on both sides who would lead the charge for Transformation Week and embrace the conversations that come when two cultures dream and build and work together. Last fall, this team of students gathered in Transformation’s new building to forge relationships and hear each other’s stories. Students from both sides dreamed together about what Transformation Week could look like and how both ministries could invest their time, talents and treasures.
After their times together, these core groups of students went back to their respective ministries and spread the vision. They shared each other’s stories and helped their peers catch the dream. They talked about culture and race and the bubbles people can find themselves living in. They challenged their peers to ask God, “How do you want to use me to further your Kingdom right now?”
What began as a dream between two teams months earlier, launched into a living and breathing partnership between two cultures.
That’s the big deal.
Students have experienced opportunities to engage with those who are different than them, in cultures that are different and in worlds that are different. They have heard stories of others that so starkly contrast their own, and their worlds have stretched and groaned and expanded.
This has been the mission and goal of Student Ministries staff all along. They desire to see students step outside of themselves. They want students to see the “five guys and an engineer” who are leading Transformation’s building remodel project and realize that these men simply asked God, “How do you want to use me to further your kingdom right now?” Through this partnership, they longed for students to gain a grander, truer picture of our world. For Student Ministries staff, the “why” behind Transformation Week is greater than any dollar amount they could raise.
As Transformation Week approaches and eventually slips into history, their prayer is that this partnership between students would continue. Their prayer is that students would continue to build bridges, to engage in challenging conversations and to ask questions of themselves and of others.
Will you join Student Ministries in this? Will you join them in building bridges, in stepping outside of your day-to-day lives to step into another’s world? Will you join them in listening to people’s stories and valuing their experiences? Will you join them in partnering with Transformation Ministries and giving generously to the work this ministry is doing?
This year, both Transformation and NMC students will donate to and run a silent auction and bake sale. The auction will begin Sunday, January 29, and run through Sunday, February 5. The bake sale, which will include cookies, cupcakes, pies, salsa and more, will take place Wednesday, February 1 in the Fieldhouse. In both of these events, students have been challenged to give sacrificially. They’ve been challenged to look around at their world and ask the Lord out of obedience, “What do you want me to give?” Would you consider coming alongside them and honoring their sacrificial giving? You can bid in person in the Grand Hall or online. Just visit www.transformationweek.blogspot.com to view the items and email your bid to email@example.com.
We are certainly excited for what God will do during Transformation Week, but even more than that, we are overwhelmingly thankful for what He has already done in the lives of students. We walk in anticipation for how He will further His Kingdom through this partnership in the future.
That’s the big deal.