Campus Ministry Sparks Lifelong Leadership

Campus Ministry Sparks Lifelong Leadership

“Individuals with disabilities are often included somewhere—and then they’re left behind,” said Peter Gordon, a campus minister at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC). “I’m always trying to propel the students forward. What next?”

Hailey was a freshman at GRCC when she first stumbled upon the table Peter set up for Jabez Ministries, a Christian Reformed campus ministry supported by Resonate Global Mission that primarily serves students with disabilities.

Hailey had found faith in Christ as a teenager, but she came from a family of mostly nonbelievers and did not have a strong Christian community to walk alongside her as she navigated the uncertainty of life as a young adult.

In her first year of college, she was not sure what gifts God had given her or where he was calling her. To make academia more challenging, Hailey is also visually impaired and lives with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Hailey’s life changed when she learned about Jabez Ministries. She asked Peter when and how she could get involved, and he said she could come to the next meeting.

She did.

“We immediately dove into Scripture as we ate our lunch, and I felt that this group was where I belonged,” Hailey said. “So I stuck with it, and I love how far we’ve come individually and as a group.”

Jabez Ministries does not focus on the barriers of disabilities. Peter encourages students to explore their gifts and look for opportunities of growth.

He said that some gifts are easy to pinpoint. Sometimes growth comes in predictable, linear projections. But Hailey’s growth is more like fireworks.

“[Her spirit] is infectious,” Peter said. “She’s got a smile that just warms the entire room. She’s made so many friends on campus, they’ll come right over. Hailey has a gift of drawing other students into conversations that they wouldn’t otherwise talk about.”

This year, Hailey is serving alongside Peter as an intern for Jabez Ministries. She is one of 12 students across North America benefiting from intensive Reformed leadership training through Resonate’s Emerging Leader program for campus ministries.

Helping students like Hailey explore their gifts, find their callings, develop as leaders, and grow as disciples of Christ is why Resonate supports CRC campus ministries such as Jabez Ministries.

“Sanctification in Christ is a lifelong process and never an overnight thing,” said Hailey. “We grow every single day. I praise God for providing such a wonderful group of people in my life, especially at a part of my life where I’m still trying to find my footing as a young adult.”

About the Author

Cassie Westrate, Resonate Global Mission

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