28 Oct Reflecting On The Residency
I am a Generation LINK Resident at Open Door in Raleigh, NC and am about to finish my time here after serving for two years. This residency has been one of the most formidable times of my life and ministry and I want to share a few things I been reflecting on.
I stepped into Generation LINK hesitantly and without much expectation. It was a time of growth in the Residency at Open Door, being mainly a task-oriented program. I walked in each day and was given a task or two to do. While I was enjoying my time, the next step transformed the next year and half. I watched as my area director, Michael Guyer, grew in training leaders and delegating responsibility. He started by handing over the Summer LINK teaching and schedule to us, giving us full responsibility. He walked alongside me the whole time but did not do the work for me or swoop in and save me from some of the struggle I needed to experience. From then on Michael changed the way Generation LINK was done at Open Door. He took the next step and created an opportunity for training and growth as a leader.
At the end of the summer, I was given responsibility in the Student Ministry to run our Student Care Groups and shape our discipleship groups. It was a night and day difference for me. I did not walk into the office not knowing what I was going to be doing or looking for a few tasks to carry out. Rather, I came in with a purpose and direction. I was working towards the mission of our ministry because I had bought into it. I was helping shape the pathway of discipleship and teaching. I was in charge of recruiting and training leaders, finding and teaching curriculum, planning events, and discipling students. I felt like I was striving alongside the staff.
The biggest impact Generation LINK has had in my life is bolstering confidence in discipleship. I learned first hand how to disciple someone because I was being discipled by my area director. Whether it was over lunch or coffee, lots of coffee, to conversations as I caddied for him at a golf tournament, I was intentionally poured into. I learned a commitment to discipleship. Michael modeled discipleship for us and pushed us to replicate that with others. I began meeting a few guys in our Student Ministry once a week over dinner and have been for some time now. I was forced to think through discipleship plans and metrics. I eventually would use those plans and metrics to train our other student leaders to do the same. I now have confidence that no matter my next step in January; Gen LINK has equipped me to make disciples.
Generation LINK has been the perfect pair to my Seminary education at Southeastern. I’m not going to lie; there were some difficult times where ministry and schoolwork piled up. Thankfully I have a gracious Area Director and a wife who encouraged me to work hard and keep going. If I had the choice, I would do it over again too. Seminary has been an amazing time and helped me grow in my critical thinking and love for the Word. I will graduate this December much more knowledgeable than I walked in. Though, what Generation LINK has taught me is put that knowledge to work—to love the local church and to disciple God’s people. Had I not done Generation LINK, I think I would have stepped out of Seminary lacking. I would have only been partially shaped, one half of a whole. I am thankful for a wife who encouraged and loved me enough to challenge me to become a resident so that I could be shaped not only by Southeastern but also by my local church. It has been in the local church that I have learned how to practically love ministry and those I minister to. It has taken me from behind my books into the homes of church families. It truly has made all the difference.
I would encourage anyone to take a year or two to do the Residency. If you want to grow in serving the church, do the residency. If you want to be in ministry and need training, do the residency. If you want intentional discipleship and to strive alongside brothers and sisters for the cause of Christ then do the residency. These last two years have shaped the path for the rest of my life. If you’re on the fence I hope you feel pushed to say yes, I can guarantee you won’t forget it.
Generation LINK Resident
Open Door Baptist Church