Last week we posted the first two reasons why the City Project for college students is your best option for how to spend your summer. Again, we want to thank you to Daniel Drake and our friends over at the Summit Church for providing us with top notch reasons why the City Project is a no brainer. This week we look at two more reasons why you should do the City Project. And as you read ask yourself, “why not?”
3. Summer Projects Change the World
Now, you may be thinking, “a summer project didn’t save those people. God did.” That’s true! However, the City Project is driven by two convictions: God alone saves sinners and God always uses people to save. It’s simply a myth that your skills and your character do not matter in your evangelism efforts. In fact, Paul went so far as to say that nobody will become a Christian unless somebody goes and preaches to them (Romans 10:14). Furthermore, he emphasized the importance of a Christian’s lifestyle as part of their testimony. He refused a paycheck from the church because he thought it would be an obstacle to others receiving Christ. He contextualized his message, believed that power was found in godliness, and argued that your usefulness is dependent upon your holiness (1 Corinthians 9:12, 22; 2 Tim. 3:5, 2:20-22). Paul was gripped by the reality that he was God’s method for reaching the lost. He was a sword that needed sharpening. He was a sermon that needed editing. He was a fire that needed kindling. And if Paul, who wrote most of the books of the New Testament, needed sharpening to be effective, how much more do we? E.M. Bounds may have said it best in his book, Power Through Prayer: “Men are God’s method. Men are looking for better methods. God is looking for better men.”
Many of you reading this know that Christ commands you to make disciples; and you have a genuine desire to obey him, but you just don’t know how to share your faith. Or you do know how to share your faith, but your idols are keeping you from taking risks to share the gospel. The City Project sharpens you for lifelong ministry. Our students receive holistic discipleship training through Biblical teaching, practical experience, community-based living, and intentional mentorship. And because our summer projects develop people, and people are God’s method for changing the world, what happens in summer projects does not stay in summer projects. Why are your lost friends going to be saved next year? Why do summer projects change the world? Because God saves sinners and because you took time to sharpen your sword.
4. Jesus is Lord
During this season, a lot of people are going to try to help you decide what to do this summer or after your graduation. Your parents will give you wise counsel about financial planning and career goals. Your friends will share their experiences with you, ranging from internships to summer camp positions to a cozy couch in their mom’s basement. Your pastors will proclaim the spiritual benefits of doing some sort of summer or two year missions project.
All of these people will educate you, but the blood of Jesus does not merely educate – it purchases. “You are not your own. You were bought with a price. Therefore, glorify God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This is the truth of the blood of Christ. Jesus owns you! And if he owns you, he owns your summer. If you’re looking for solid footing as you decide what to do with your summer, there is no greater decision-making rock to plant your feet upon than that fact. If Jesus is the Lord of your life, then Jesus is the Lord of your summer. This summer, go where He commands.
That might sound harsh at first, but a true vision of who Jesus is, what He has done for you, and what He desires for you will not produce passivity or begrudging obedience, it will incite a joyful surrender to His will. That vision reveals that His commands are not chiefly about a commitment that He wants from you, but a life that He wants for you – a life enriched by the purpose, the honor, and the joy that comes from depending wholeheartedly on and pointing others wholeheartedly to the Source of your rescue.
During World War II, there were two kinds of soldiers in our army. There were soldiers who were drafted and there were soldiers who volunteered. A soldier who was drafted went to war against his will; he was forced into it. But a volunteer soldier was different. He signed up because he wanted to. I can imagine one of the old war heroes presenting himself before the commanding officer with a sense of excitement, saying something like, “I want to serve this cause. Will you train me? Will you help me be the best fighter I can be for my country? I’m giving up all my freedoms and comforts and preferences for this. This is the one thing that really matters to me.” Though the cost was great, a vision of service and reward captivated these volunteers. They saw glory and responded by presenting all of their resources as eager and honored participants in the mission. In a sense, war happened to the drafted soldiers. But for the volunteers soldiers, they happened to war.
The Christian vision for following Jesus is less like the draftee and more like the volunteer. When you see glory in the love of Christ, it captivates your soul like nothing else. You see him pierced for your transgressions and crushed for your iniquities. That love compels, even controls you, to approach him in trembling joy and say, “I want to serve your cause. Will you train me? Will you help me be the best soldier I can be for you? Here’s all I have—my life, my mind, my soul, my talents. They are yours. I am in your hands. Command me!”
Don’t wait for this summer to happen to you. Don’t wait for the next two years to happen to you. Happen to them by joyfully surrendering your time, your plans, and your life to the Lordship of Christ.
Daniel Drake is on staff at the Summit Church in Raleigh/Durham and serves as the Duke Campus Director.
Applications and more information about the City Project can be found here on our website.