The Student Leadership Project (or SLP), the 8 year Lilly Endowment-funded partnership of Young Life and Fuller Seminary. 37 high school rising seniors from across the country, hand-picked, personally chosen and nominated for leadership gifts and calling.
Monday, Day Eight
As we look to wrap up our SLP 09 experience, our morning was filled with exploring what it means to follow Christ when we so often fail, get discouraged, and sometimes even slip away. Our search brought us into the book of Galatians, and especially the fifth chapter, where Paul reminds us that it is faith, or trust in God, that when coupled with waiting on the Spirit produces the “righteousness for which we hope.” Typically Christians focus on trying to “be righteous” by being good and worthy and consistent to the rules and norms we’ve been taught. It is so easy to live as though God were folding his arms waiting for us to “get with” the demands of the Gospel. But Paul turns that thinking upside down when we read Galatians 5:5. Our job is to trust and wait, his job is to change us into the men and women we are called to be. And the outcome? There is only one that concerns our Father: love (Galatians 5:6, “…the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love”).
With rapt attention and personal reflection, our student leaders and staff community wrestled with the specific areas or issues where we do not, or at least struggle with, trust Christ. This now defines the journey we are all on as leaders: hearing and heeding the call of the Holy Spirit who draws our attention to whatever would steal our abandoned trust in the lion of Judah, our king. Working through what I call “regular spiritual disciplines” as followers of Christ (worship, prayer, scripture, community, giving and justice) and other “proven” historical spiritual disciplines of the people of God, like fasting, contemplation, solitude, etc., we are more readily aligned with the Spirit who is at work within us.
Heady concepts for high school rising seniors, but our student leaders really wanted to know what it could mean to learn how to lean into the kingdom of God versus wallowing in the muck of guilt from the past or the bandage of failure and discouragement in the present. Our student leaders are preparing to go home, and to enter into a whole new way of living for Jesus Christ and serving him and his kingdom. Today they’ve gotten the teaching, reflected on the scripture, and this afternoon and evening now present the opportunity to work through it all in community.