16 Nov Kairos Impact | Self-Awareness and the Local Church
When I first applied for Kairos in February of 2017, I could never have envisioned how the trajectory of my life would be altered. In addition, as someone who had limited exposure to Grace Church prior to this summer, I had no backdrop or context upon which to base any presuppositions or forethoughts about Kairos.
With that being said, I knew coming in that the program was going to make a significant impact on my life as my college roommate had completed the internship the summer before, and one of my bandmates the summer before that. I never could have prepared myself for how the Lord would use the program and the staff of Grace Church to both teach me more about myself and reveal more of His nature and character to me.
As I reflect on the most significant ways in which I’ve grown over the course of the summer, the first area that comes to mind is self-awareness. From the very beginning, this ability was emphasized in every aspect of the program, from the classes to our respective ministry responsibilities. Up until this point, I had assumed that I was self aware enough in my personal life, relationships, and spirituality to have a healthy and mature perspective on my life, my strengths and weaknesses, and the consequences of my actions, but I was quickly proven wrong. In previous church settings that I had been in up until this point, self-awareness and spiritual maturity seemed to be equated with Bible knowledge and how “together” one could make their life appear. At Grace, the fostering of an environment where one is encouraged to evaluate and reflect on where he or she is in every area of life through honesty and application of biblical teaching greatly challenged everything to which I had been exposed. It was an incredibly humbling process to have my shortcomings exposed through personal introspection, the accountability of my ministry lead, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, but I know that I will continue to reap the rewards of this learning process for years to come.
“I never could have prepared myself for how the Lord would use the program and the staff of Grace Church to both teach me more about myself and reveal more of His nature and character to me.”
Another area of personal growth for me over the summer is a love for the local church that arose from the ashes of cynicism in my heart. Having grown up in the “Bible belt” and being raised in church has at times proved to be a double-edged sword, cutting to the core of my confidence in those who claim the title of Christian and who say that they follow Jesus of Nazareth. I have spent a large part of the past year wrestling with understanding the purpose of the gathering of believers when it often seems to result in disunity, ostracization, and heartache. Upon coming to Kairos and becoming a part of a vibrant and active local church body, my perspective began to shift, even though at times I’m sure it was like attempting to redirect a derelict ocean liner. Through teaching on the purpose of the body of Christ, the emphasis on unity around belief and worship of Jesus as Messiah, and the laying aside of one’s personal preferences in order to give one’s life away for the benefit others, a love for God’s people has begun to take root, and God has used this summer to slowly but surely replace my critical spirit with one defined by grace, peace, and love.
“Upon coming to Kairos and becoming a part of a vibrant and active local church body, my perspective began to shift, even though at times I’m sure it was like attempting to redirect a derelict ocean liner.”
As a new season dawns on the horizon, I have a newfound sense of peace as I have been equipped with practical tools by which I can continue to apply the teaching that I have received and follow Jesus through tangible next steps. The summer of 2017 will always be a summer that I look back on as a paradigm shift in my walk with the Lord where I really began to grow in maturity both as an individual and in my understanding of my role as a member of the body of Christ. Kairos has completely changed my perspective on what it means to be an active member of the Church as a whole and as a follower of Jesus.
—Nathan Carlton, Kairos Intern Summer 2017
Applications are now open for Kairos Summer, our 10-week internship program. This program is designed to give students the opportunity to lead, study, and serve alongside the Grace Church staff. Summer interns serve full time in one of the practical ministry areas listed on the internship website (link below). Over the course of the summer, interns have the opportunity and are strongly encouraged to live with one of the Grace Church host families provided. Click below for more information and to apply!