God is at Work

That’s one of the core principles that RUF campus ministers are taught. The shorter catechism puts it this way: “God’s works of providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing of all his creatures and all their actions.” This profound truth of Scripture should give us hope, confidence, and perseverance as we follow Jesus into the various callings that he’s placed on our lives.

Back in the 2000s when I was youth pastor at Redeemer PCA in Greenville, I led summer mission teams to the small town of Norway, SC, which is located in Orangeburg County. We did a Bible camp in the mornings and work projects in the afternoons. Over the years, we met lots of children and families through the ministry of Three Crosses Outreach. God used those summer mission trips to develop a sense of calling in my heart to move to Orangeburg and plant a cross-cultural church.

Fast forward 10-15 years. 

Last weekend, our college ministry team participated in a training by Rev. Cyril Chavis, who is leading RUF at Howard University. Joel invited a few student leaders to come along. One of those students was Mark. Joel has been telling me about Mark for some time. He has been a committed member of the SCSU Bible study group that Joel leads. But like many college students, Mark has not yet connected with a local church.

I was eager to get to know Mark and to begin to build trust with him. So, as we started our drive to Columbia Pres for the training, I began peppering Mark with questions. “What’s your major? Tell me about your family. Where are you from?” Mark told us about his studies, his family, and then he said, “I’m from Norway.” 

That’s when it hit me. 

“Mark…” Wait. “Mark?” I asked him, “Did you ever go to Three Crosses Outreach as a kid?” His face brightened, “Yes I did.” I asked, “When you were five or six years old, do you remember getting in front of a microphone and doing spoken word Scripture like a little preacher man?” Mark laughed. “Yeah, that was me.”

Suddenly, my worlds collided. I realized that this young man sitting in the backseat of our van was someone that I had gotten to know and love when he was a kid. I said, “I know this is creepy, but I have a photo of you in my phone!” Laurie found it (I was driving), and we laughed over the photo of little Mark, who wowed the crowd at a summer talent show that our youth group hosted in Norway back in 2007.

Friends, God is at work.

So, don’t get discouraged when you don’t see immediate results in ministry. Don’t lose faith when God doesn’t seem to be moving. Here’s a reminder that God is working miracles that we may never see. He’s planting seeds that take time to ripen. He’s making a way. Never lose hope because God is always holy, always wise, and always powerful. He’s always working.

This is the photo of Mark quoting Scripture at the talent show in Norway, SC back in 2007.
Columbia Pres (our mother church) hosted a weekend training for RUF pastors and Campus Outreach staff who do ministry on HBCU campuses. Mark is on the front row in the red hat.

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