During launch week, we followed up with dozens of people who said they were interested in trying out a group Bible study. I had made calls and knocked on Jake’s door twice that week with no response. But fifteen minutes before our first meeting, I decided to give it one last shot. To my surprise, Jake answered his door in Wheeler Hall and was willing to attend on such short notice. Now he is one of the two guys faithfully engaged in our group.
There were plenty of students we didn’t hear back from. It could have been just as easy to count Jake out too. Experiences like this are helping me learn that it’s never too late, that I should never say “no” for people, and that I shouldn’t give up on anyone. I don’t know if Jake would have shown up or not if I hadn’t knocked on his door one more time, but stories like his compel me to continue following up. The founder of The Navigators, Dawson Trotman, had a passion for follow-up. He knew that some people, like Jake, are waiting to be invited into something more.
Over lunch one day, I asked Jake what he was looking for and why he was coming to Bible study. He said, “I thought it’d be good to meet some people who have similar values, but I really don’t know how to grow or what the next step is.” That’s why we’re here – to help students discover and take the next step in their faith.
Also as a spontaneous decision, Jake came to Fall Conference with us. While there, students are given several opportunities to think about for the upcoming summer. I asked Jake if he ever saw himself doing something like a Summer Training Program with the Navigators as a “next step.” His response? “That sounds so cool.” I love his openness to where the Lord might be leading him in their newly deepened walk together.
Events like the Fall Conference can ignite a spark, but they can’t sustain growth. The relationships surrounding those experiences are key, and continuing to personally invest in people like Jake will be essential. What a blessing, then, that Jake is now attending our ministry’s weekly training nights where he is learning to share his faith. Recently, he and I had the privilege of sharing the Bridge (Gospel) illustration with several people in the student center. The following week, Jake was so excited that he took another freshman guy out to share the Gospel and connect with their peers! I cannot wait to see what God has in store for Jake.
Please pray for us, for Jake, and for the countless other students like him, as we seek to take steps of faith together. Every individual is worth it.