In the Fall of 1997 a sophomore at UNC Charlotte named Cory Thompson decided to be an RA in the all-freshman dorm. Cory had no idea how that decision would still be making an impact 15 years later.
In Nov 1997 I became a follower of Jesus through Cory's influence. A month later, my hallmate Aaron Carr also became a follower of Christ through Cory's influence. Cory taught us the foundations us the Christian faith. He taught us about grace, how to study the bible, how to pray, and how to talk to others about Jesus.
Cory now lives in Atlanta but his life is being mulitiplied to college students in Virginia (through my ministry) and through middle schoolers in NC (through Aaron's ministry). This past weekend was a beautiful convergence of these two discipleship ministries.
Aaron, known these days as Coach Carr, has an amazing discipleship ministry with the boys on his wrestling and football teams at Stanford Middle School. This is not a church youth group or an official ministry chapter, this is just young men that have been inspired to know more about Jesus by watching their coach walk with Him!
This past weekend Aaron brought 24 middle schoolers and 6 dads to Lynchburg for a retreat, and he invited me to teach them about discipleship. I showed them Matthew 4:19 where Jesus calls the first disciples to, "Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men." I told them embarrassing stories from when Aaron and I were in college, stories of Cory's influence on our lives, and stories of how they can change other lives in the same way.
But here is what was most exciting for me: I also brought three Liberty students that I've been investing in to partner with me in ministering to the middle school students! They did an amazing job leading small group discussions, engaging the younger guys through scripture, praying with them, and just being their friends. What a great way for these LU students to gain experience and training and to see an inspirational picture (Coach Carr) of what their lives could look like in a few years from now. I couldn't write a better script.
Coach Carr wrapping up the Retreat by reminding the guys that God can use their lives to reach others.
Nick, (blue long sleeves) one of my LU students, praying with a group of middle schoolers.
All the guys at the retreat. Me in the orange hat. The three LU guys (John, John, and Nick) on the back row.