(Part 1 in a series of 10)

July 1, 2002 will officially mark three years since I have been serving as the full-time college director at Bel Air Presbyterian Church. I really can not believe how fast time has flown.

This year is a really special year for me as I am about to watch students graduate that I have had since their freshman year, when I began interning in the ministry before I became the college director. And this is a special bunch of people. We have been through a lot together. They have watched me make some brutal mistakes along the way, sometimes leading to failure, and they have been with me to take some risks, as we have watched the ministry grow in many ways. But through all of this, one thing has been certain. And that is, that we have tried many different styles and ways of leadership, and I think have found that there is no clear cut model for how to lead in ministry. There are many ideas, and many different patterns for leadership in ministry, but it sometimes will go through many phases of experimentation.

Now maybe all the changes and experiments have more to do with me as a leader, than the nature of ministry, but I have enjoyed being on the journey together with these students.

When I first took over for the ministry three years ago, the first task that I set out to do was to give us a new name. The old name didn’t quite fit the message I was trying to convey to the group.

I decided that I wanted a name that signified the idea of progress. Something that conveyed the idea of people in progress, from one destination to the next. I was influenced very much by Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase/translation in Exodus 17:1 of The Message:

Exodus 17
1 “Directed by GOD, the whole company of Israel moved on by stages from the Wilderness of Sin.”

I loved this idea of GOD, directing His people by stages. GOD didn’t take them from point A to Z. But rather from A to B. Or maybe A to C. He took them as far as they could go, until they could go no further. Sometimes in ministry I think we can try to take our people farther than they are equipped. Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes God calls us to go farther than we think we can, and sometimes it is possible that our expectations are too low in ministry. But I resonate with the idea that GOD directed His people by stages through the wilderness. And when they could go no further, He brought them to camp to rest, until it was time to move on.

This idea I hope is conveyed in the name of our ministry, The Quest. I want this ministry to be a place where college students in all walks and stages of their faith can find a place. No matter where they are at, they can come in, and know, that GOD will help direct us from one stage to the next. This is not a ministry that asks you to be able to pass some Bible exam or litmus test to determine if you are fit to be a part of the group. Rather, we want everyone to be a part of this ministry, so that we can all be directed by GOD through the widerness stages of our life.