If you had asked me towards the end of my freshman year—and now in my last year as a student at NC A&T State University—what I plan on doing after college, the answer would have been the same. I would’ve told you I was going with a church plant. The difference between freshman year and now is the reason I’m going. Let’s make this easy for people that won’t read this whole article, the wrong reason is me, and the right reason is Jesus Christ.
Wrong Reason: Me
Being part of a church that is dedicated to sending seemed cool to me at first. Prior to Mercy Hill, my church experience had been limited to seventeen years in my home country, Nigeria, and my two years in the United States. I had the opportunity to learn how to play some traditional African instruments, which connected me to individuals who traveled to different churches to perform. I’ve been to churches that met in a shed and churches that met in huge concrete buildings. The commonality for most of them, if not all, was that they were looking for more members. To be a part of Mercy Hill Church that had a passion to send people out was definitely out of the norm for me but seemed really cool. With a continuous exposure to the expository preaching at Mercy Hill, I understood that it’s not just something cool to do but a command of Jesus.
I knew this, but my mindset was still around how going on a church plant could possibly help me climb the corporate ladder. I imagined myself moving to some major city and living the dream. Junior year came, reality struck, and I decided to do City Project as an alternative to my plans of working with a major Fortune 500 company.
Right Reason: Jesus
During City Project, we travelled to New York, as well as many other international locations, to see how people were living on mission in unreached places. Many speakers came in to teach about theology and what it looked like to live as a disciple. As I sat and participated in these talks and activities, I realized every day that being a Christian means to LIVE A SENT LIFE. For me, at the time, that wasn’t great news. I went through several internal struggles regarding my interest in God’s plan or my own. I couldn’t see how I could live a successful business life and continue Christ’s mission. I struggled with surrendering to be part of God’s mission to the point of taking it out on my fellow City Project participants. City Project lasted for about twelve weeks, but I rebelled for about ten of those.
The struggle culminated one night alone in my room with so much confusion and tears in my eyes, I remember saying, “You win God.” I can’t fully explain what finally brought me to completely surrender, but I realized that God has a purpose in this world found in his word, which is evident in his son Jesus Christ. We will only live a fulfilled life when we jump onboard and ride along with him.
Go Back to the Vision
I have the opportunity to be one of the student leaders on my campus, and I’ve been learning how to establish a successful culture in my organization like those of Fortune 500 companies. One thing that keeps coming up is, “Always go back to the vision.” When I’m pursing some goal or accomplishment, I ask myself, “What is the vision?” If JESUS is not the vision, who or what can be the vision? There is no dream or ambition that compares to Jesus. Now my personal mission statement is simply, “For his glory, strategically on my campus, in Greensboro, and very soon in Tampa, Florida.”
-Olamide Olawuni (MH College Leader)