13 Oct International Church Planting
A common theme running throughout many of the stories of those who have served with the GoNow initiative is that Christ is better, and that the plans he has are better than anything anyone could have imagined for himself or herself.
That theme holds true for Daniel Lewis.
Daniel had everything all planned out. He knew he wanted to pursue full-time ministry. He went to seminary immediately after college, fast-tracking his education to begin serving as quickly as possible. He imagined getting married at an early age, becoming a pastor, and eventually becoming a lead pastor.
God presented Daniel with an opportunity to change his plans by coming on staff with The Summit Church and participating in the college ministry at Duke University.
For him to do that, he had to slow down his seminary career.
“After prayer and getting counsel, I decided to come on staff. I felt like that’s what Christ was calling me to do,” Daniel said.
After a few years on staff with the Summit College Ministry, Daniel said God began working in his life in many different ways and led him to serve in Europe for two years.
“It’s completely different from what I expected,” he said. “First, I’m still doing part-time school. There’s no end in sight. I probably have a long way to go, with a few more years of school to finish my degree. I’m not married, single still. And I’m still raising support.”
Daniel led an eight-week Second City team as well as a two-week City Project team to Europe. It was during these experiences leading these teams that God spoke to Daniel’s heart.
“The Lord revealed to me that a lot of what I dreamed about for my future were actually my idols. I kind of projected my idols onto my future,” he said. “If you live for your future and if you’re obsessed with getting the future you want, it turns all of life into a means to an end. You can’t really enjoy things.”
Daniel also came to realize that he was viewing his performance as an idol, spurring him on or preventing him from achieving the goals he had for himself.
“I felt a lot of pressure to succeed in ministry or be perfect in my performance,” he said. “I felt like if I don’t do my best here, then what I want in the future’s not going to happen. So you live with this thought, this belief, that life now is just a means to an end. You can never really stop and enjoy life.”
Thankfully, the Lord has shown Daniel how to overcome this.
“First, you have to look to Jesus,” he said. “You have to look at what he has done for you and see a God, in Christ, who is better than everything you could hope for out of the future you want.
“And second, you have to let the glory of your future with Jesus become so weighty and real in your life that the pressure to succeed now, the pressure to get your best future and best life now, just kind of dissolves away. When you realize that you’ve got everything that you need in Christ and a future with him, you can take bold risks.”
And those bold risks are better, because Christ is better.
For this reason, the Summit College Ministry challenges college students to commit to serve somewhere after graduation. We want them to serve in this way because Christ has called us to go, and we know that the Holy Spirit uses experiences like this to shape our hearts. Whether they commit to serve for two years or a whole lifetime overseas, we want these students to view the rest of their lives through the lens of God’s name being known among all nations, through the planting of reproducing local churches among every unreached people group on the planet!