Not Me but We

By Mick Silvers, Partnership Coordinator

This past week I was able to serve for the first time as Partnership Coordinator (PC for short) on a spring break mission trip. In many ways, this is what PCs plan all year for- to have students come and experience the community we fell in love with. While the Next Step interns and students were here, I learned a valuable lesson.

Since moving out to L.A. I have been fighting this I mentality. I am moving to L.A. to serve Skid Row. I am working for both Next step and Union Rescue Mission. It is up to me to make sure that the off season trip goes smoothly. As soon as the Next Step interns landed in L.A. this mentality was tested.

If I am going to be honest, it was very hard for me to give up control of the week. It was even harder not to worry about the friendships and partnerships I had worked so hard to create in my community would not be harmed. This fear caused me to want to be involved in every decision that was made so that I would have control over what was going to happen. It took every ounce of energy not to be this way. But once I took a step back, I was able to see the beauty of this Next Step trip, and see how Christ created his body to serve.

The first night of the trip I was reminded of Romans 12:3-8. Which states:

3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

It was amazing to see the visiting Next Step staff use their gifts and passion to lead students in their service projects and advocate on behalf of the community. Because the staff were willing to be servants of Christ, they facilitated an unforgettable week for the visiting group. Each and every staff member had special gifts and talents. Each used their gifts to bring God glory, and that is how God was able to work through the students.

The students also acted as a valuable part of the body of Christ as they put in the hard work on the service projects. Because of the students, people experiencing homelessness heard about how much their everlasting father loves them, a new urban garden was built, flooring at Hope Gardens was replaced, kids at Hope Gardens were invested in, and their moms were able to rest with the extra set of eyes caring for their children. There is no way I could have accomplished even a fraction of this with the mentality I wanted to have.

As a member of the body of Christ, I can never have full control. It is not me. It is we. Only we were able to accomplish what we did through Christ.

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