I think I speak for the larger majority when I say that my whole life I’ve struggled to manage my love/hate relationship with numbers. They’re complicated. They’re messy. And they’ve always left me either confused or frustrated. For me, numbers often represented the tag on that super cute shirt I couldn’t afford. The characters on that Calculus final that I was destined to fail. The amount of candles on a birthday cake representing the years of life that far too quickly added up.Over the years I’ve almost built up an immunity to them. I’ve become desensitized to the power that numbers hold. I’ve far too quickly defined “numbers” as my antithesis. The salt in my paper cut. The rainy cloud on an otherwise sunny day. Well, at least until recently.
As we count down the days until the Journey 2015 Welcome Party, I can’t help but breathe in numbers with a new-found glory and freedom. I’ve been motivated by them, similarly to the way I celebrate that cup of coffee that gets me out of bed in the morning.
Each number currently represents a detail that normally would seem insignificant, but right now is a small part of a bigger process that God’s using to transform the lives of His people.
The number 4 represents how many communities our team will serve in this summer. The number 6 represents the camps we will hold with our East African staff for the over 9,000 students participating in Rejoice Project. The number 2 represents the jumbo-sized bags of Chicago popcorn we’ve eaten while simultaneously laughing, crying, and rejoicing during discipleship curriculum meetings. The number 6 represents the alumni that are joyfully sacrificing another summer to serve Journey as members of summer staff.
And finally, the number 16- the number of journey interns that have been stewarded to us. This number sixteen is deeply significant to me. Not just because we’ve prayed and prayed over it, but because biblically the number 16 is interpreted as “perfection in God’s love.” Every year, our prayer for Journey is the same prayer Paul spoke over the churches around Ephesus. A prayer for spiritual strength.
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
As I look at the number 16, a number that for me is now filled in with faces and names and praises and prayers, I’m empowered. I’m overwhelmed by the grace of God because, He’s given me the opportunity to pour into and serve the lives of a people that He loves deeply and intimately for 10 whole weeks.
So, I invite you in. Join us. Pray with us. Ask how you can be a part. There is always a place for you to serve. Because for such a time as this, God has called us, as a Body, to invest in the lives of the next generation. And for this season, the next generation looks like 16 college-aged students who are eager and ready to dive into authentic community and transformation.
To learn how to be a part of Journey 2015, shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org! I’d be happy to help you find an area to serve.