Mike has been changing lives as a Chi Alpha pastor for the past 16 years. He is a die-hard Yankees fan who roasts his own coffee beans. He recently moved to Richmond, VA with his family where they work to reach students at Virginia Commonwealth University. You can keep up with him on Instagram.
These were the words of Dick Brogden speaking during an evening session at The World Missions Summit 2. I had taken a group of students from the Chi Alpha group I directed at American University in the hopes of seeing them inspired to the challenge of taking the gospel to the world, but the truth is I was the one who needed to be inspired.
It was a lonely time in ministry for me. It was my 9th year of ministry in Washington DC. In 1999, my wife Jen and I joined a team of thirteen campus ministers ready to make a difference in the nation’s capital. We had accomplished much, but many of those original members had moved on, called to different challenges. My wife and main partner in ministry was occupied with our three small children and the enormity of the task was weighing me down. I was tired. I was overwhelmed. I wanted to quit.
As Dick spoke those words to the thousands gathered, I struggled in my seat.
I was tired of trying. I didn’t want to continue living and sharing Jesus in a city like Washington, DC much less the unreached Muslim world that Dick was pointing us to. I didn’t have the strength. I didn’t have the passion or perseverance to take the first step toward making that kind of commitment.
I didn’t…I didn’t…
That was when I realized the issue. It wasn’t the people who were missing in my life. It wasn’t the circumstance that I happened to be in.
The problem was me. I would never have the strength or resources or opportunity to bring light to darkness.
I had no chance of being successful as a minister in my current situation or any other. Jesus is the answer and there’s no one else.
That’s when I realized I had to die.
I had to die to my desire for significance or comfort. I had to die to my need for friendship or understanding. I had to die to my need to be needed. It was the only way that I could see Jesus as my source and allow Him to be glorified in me.
Dick finished his message with a simple, unemotional, invitation to live dead. I found myself walking forward and there surrounded by hundreds of college students, I knelt and wept.
I cried tears of repentance, asking forgiveness for my self-centeredness. I cried tears of surrender, giving up control of my life to bow again to Jesus’ lordship. I cried tears for the lost and committed myself again to follow my Savior to the inconvenient lost.
It’s been almost was six years since that moment, but it’s something I’ve come back to on an almost daily basis. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of self-reliance or self-pity. But I’ve found that as I live dead, I open myself to take what only Jesus can give and share that liberally with those He wants to love through me.