re:Vision - Start With One


re:Vision

3/5/2018

Start with One


By Rev. Sam Dawkins
 
When I started college in 2007 at the University of Georgia, the most impactful decision I made during my four years in Athens was becoming a part of the Wesley Foundation. It was at Wesley where I found my community, my wife, and my calling to ministry.
 
So when I was appointed to oversee the launch of a new ministry in Carrollton designed to reach college students at the University of West Georgia, I was excited. The idea that I could help build a community that could be as impactful for future students as Wesley was for me was thrilling. But there was a pretty big difference between my experience in Athens and the situation at UWG. The first time I went to Wesley at UGA, there were over 1,000 students in worship. When I arrived in Carrollton, the Wesley Foundation had been closed for a year and we didn’t have any students that were plugged in. The situations were so different. I didn’t know if there was anything I could learn from my time at UGA that would be applicable to what I was called to in Carrollton. There was one thing that I learned in Athens however that has helped us get off the ground and begin to grow as a new ministry: some of the best ministry happens when we invest in one person at a time.
 
From the outside, there are a lot of things about UGA’s Wesley Foundation that make it a great ministry: powerful worship, great speaking, a large staff, big events, professional quality media, and the list goes on. I knew that we weren’t in a place where we could match the quality or quantity of those things. It was really intimidating and frustrating to think about how far away we were from those things. But I also knew that those weren’t the things that had the biggest impact on my life while I was a part of the ministry. It was the discipleship program, staff members meeting one on one each week with students and investing in them as leaders, that had a profound impact on me. That was something that we could do.
 
So in July, I had the opportunity to meet with five students to talk about UWG Wesley. In August, we had our first Wesley worship service on a Wednesdaynight and those five students brought friends with them. And over the course of the semester, those friends starting bringing other friends. Every Wednesday, the primary focus was on getting to know each student one at a time and to start investing in them. This past January, we were able to launch a leadership team with eight of our students. These students meet with a staff member each week for an hour long discipleship meeting, and they’re also beginning to lead the ministry by finding out new ways to invite and engage new students through leading outreach on campus, hospitality on Wednesday nights, and leading small groups. It’s been so much fun!
 
Starting something new can be daunting, especially if you have been a part of a large and thriving ministry. You don’t have the resources, culture, or leadership that you experienced built up yet, and if you came into that large ministry when it was already built, you may have no idea how to start. But over the past eight months, I’ve learned that the most important thing we can do is to invest in one person at a time. And the great thing is, that’s something we can all do.
 
Rev. Sam Dawkins is appointed to lead a new ministry at West Georgia. Contact him at sam.dawkins@ngumc.net.


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