Late last night my dear friend Mark and I took a prayer walk through the campus here in Kent. As we walked we presented our prayers to God, asking Him to move mightily through our young church. Our prayers were saturated with a deep sense of desperation. We unashamedly admitted how entirely incapable we are to bring revolution to Kent State University. We pledged our submission to any changes- no matter how radical- God may have in store for our church; indeed we welcomed God to shipwreck our plans if they don’t align with his mission at Kent State. We asked Jesus to draw to himself near to the students we’ve met who are far from him. We committed to engaging students in God’s work of justice in our ever-broken world.
In the midst of our prayers for our church and for others, Mark uttered a different prayer- one that caught me off guard. He said to Jesus: “We’ve come to be changed.” As he continued this prayer, I began to understand and appreciate his words. Those of us (who moved to Kent to see God establish a church) came not only to join God in changing other people’s lives; we came to be changed ourselves.
You see, God’s work of transformation and restoration in person’s life is never complete. While we long to see God move in the hearts of young people, at the same time we desperately need him to change us too. The beauty of this experience thus far is that in the midst of calling others to renewal, I am being renewed myself. In the midst of sharing the gospel message, I am learning that message afresh. God is not just changing Kent State; he is changing our church plant team.