Walking on to UT’s campus move in day, I was incredibly overwhelmed. The only person I knew was my roommate, Lindsay. There were so many new opportunities laid right in front of me and it was time for me to take advantage of them. But, I didn’t want to. I wanted to get right back in my car and drive three hours back to Nashville. But I couldn’t.
I knew from the get go that I wanted to check out the BCM because my small group leader, Chelsea, was the President of her BCM at UT Martin. I had heard nothing but good things about it. I had not heard much about the BCM at here, but I knew it existed, so that’s good. UT is awesome because there are so many on-campus ministries. My roommate and I got so many different cards from different ministries, signed up for random email and text lists. It was crazy. We never really went to any of them but we did know that the BCM was having a cookout on the front lawn the night of move in day, so we decided to go.
At first, it was just like a “have to” kind of thing for me. I did not feel like I was finding community and did not feel like I belonged. Not because of anyone there, but just because I felt like the little freshman and that I could not fit in with the people who had already established connections with each other there. And I was so stinking homesick. To a really unhealthy extreme.
I struggled so much from August to early December with being homesick and that feeling of not belonging. I remember a specific day in October where I had gone home to be with my dad because he had surgery, and I had to drive back after that weekend and had a complete breakdown about going back. I told my parents that I hated it and that I wanted to quit. They just hugged me and then let me drive off. I am glad they did not tell me that I could or could not quit in that moment. Because I think that if they told me I could, I would have. My dad called me the next day as I was walking to class and I cried all over again. He told me the common “freshman year is the hardest” “it’ll get better”. He also told me that if after this year I wanted to transfer, I could. I went and talked to my advisor about dropping out that day.
Christmas break came soon after that, and God did some major work on me in that. He showed me that my life existed beyond my sweet little hometown. He showed me that my faith was my own now, and that I was on this beautiful journey with Him. He showed me that it was okay to leave home and make new friends. Most of all, He showed me that He is more than enough in the midst of all of that.
When I got back I felt like a different person. I was happy to be at school and felt like I belonged here. The BCM was quickly becoming a safe haven for me and I was getting to know everyone pretty well. It wasn’t until winter retreat in February that I really felt like I had found my niche. That event was one of the single most fun things I have done to this date.
It is crazy to look back on who I was last August, which was a short time ago but still feels so long ago, and who I am now. The Lord has challenged me in so many different ways, and I have had a lot of different seasons while in this big season of college. The B gave me a place where I could be myself and be surrounded by people who also loved Jesus and wanted to make His name known. Everyone at the B loves well and deeply, shows Christ, and is passionate about making His name known across campus, Knoxville, and the globe.
If you are feeling homesick, know you are not alone in that. It is not easy to leave all you know and come to a totally new place where you barely know anyone BUT it can be overcome. First off, spend some time with Jesus. He is your friend, comforter, peacemaker, and so much more. He hears you. Sees you. Secondly, you have to be willing to come out of your comfort zone a little bit and talk to people and build relationships. It is SO worth it in the end. If you are still struggling after that, do not be afraid to ask a leadership member or Samm, Johnny, Rodney, or KP to go out with you. They will hear you out, I promise. Being homesick stinks, but there are people who love you and care about you that can help you overcome it.
Kaitlyn is a sophomore here at UT studying marketing and Spanish in hopes to be a full time missionary one day in Spanish speaking countries. She is also a life group leader here at the BCM, as well as one of our social media coordinators.
These women plus many more are mentioned in the Bible as part of the Lord’s story in someway.
If you look deeper you know there are many more things these women have in common other than just the Bible. Their strength of character resounds loudly through the scriptures. They are strong, respected, and faithful women. They are of importance to the Lord’s story. But we are able to see all of this played out because the Lord chose to give us the Bible to read, study, understand, and put to use.
We can look at some of the women mentioned and see the part they play, such as Lydia, our first “Christian business woman.” She was also known as one who would open her home up for what we know as corporate worship. Then there’s Priscilla, yes wife of Aquilla, but also one who was a leader in the Ephesian church. She helped in discipleship especially to a man named Apollos, and just happened to be written ahead of her husband three out of the six times we see them mentioned in the Bible, some say this can speak significantly to Priscilla. We could talk all day just about the role each woman mentioned in the Bible had in the spreading of Christianity, but what is the real reason why looking deeper at these Godly women is so important? Why is it so important that we teach everyone in our communities about these women and how the Lord wrote the story with them playing bigger roles than what we would normally expect?
These women and the Bible can help us better understand a question that is on everyone’s mind in today’s time, what is the role of women in ministry, in our churches, and in our communities?
For me this question was exceptionally important as I navigated my own calling in minister. Looking deeper and deeper into sermons, articles, and scripture, I found myself more confused than before. I asked myself many questions, the biggest question being, “Why would we limit our God by limiting what role women are allowed to have in ministry?” I began to think of it as putting our God in a box, by choosing what we want to believe instead of looking at all of scripture and what exactly our Lord tells us in every verse.
That’s when I decided to look at it differently. I turned off my anger, frustration, confusion, and tried to look at scripture the way my Father in Heaven would, not completely possible but a girl can try right? I took a step back and tried to remember who He is, what the Bible tells me about His character, then tried to study again.
I looked at the hard verses, verses such as 1 Corinthians 14: 34 where Paul says:
“Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak but they are to be submissive as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.”
We also have 1 Timothy 2: 11-12 where Paul says: “Let a women learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” Not going to lie, the very first time I ever read these verses, I felt very defeated. I wasn’t sure why Paul would shut women down like that, especially when there are so many women that Paul denotes as prophetess, teachers, healers, etc. So, naturally I decided to seek out why Paul would say things such as this and found my answer.
I found it easy for me to read this passage and just say oh women aren’t supposed to really be in ministry if Paul is silencing us in the church but then I received some worthy advice, really look at the context of the scripture. After looking deeper, I found that in in both of these scriptures Paul is talking to a certain group. In 1 Corinthians he is talking to a group that happens to be women that is disrupting worship to the Lord. He was making it known that worship is a time to adore and give glory to our King, not to ask questions and make unnecessary noise. He wasn’t silencing the group simply because they were women.
I then looked at the contents behind the scripture in 1 Timothy, and found that in these verses it can once again be taken out of context. If you look deeper you can see Paul making this a verse of correction to both men and women, yes both men and women. In the verses before 11 and 12, you see Paul addressing how men were to pray, “lifting their holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” Then you see Paul go on to address a group of women of high status who wanted to come in and be teachers and leaders in the church in Ephesus, where he does say “women are to learn in submission.” He is correcting this group of women, not because they were women but because they should be properly instructed on how to lead and teach for the Kingdom before they were given the ability to do so in the church.
Paul gives us these scriptures to teach, correct (not condemn), and lead us in the way that the Lord would want us to go, not to box in someone’s ability based off their gender.
Moral of the story: think about our God, think about His character, His sweetness, His kindness, His grace and mercy, His love, everything about Him, then think about the scripture which He gave us, to read, study, understand, and live by. He says “I created man in My image, male and female I created them.” He gave each of us gifts, qualities, abilities, to use to spread His name, His word, and bring others home to the Kingdom. The Lord didn’t specify what gender was allowed to bring others to Christ, He said “therefore go out and make disciples of all nations.” He didn’t say men, go out or women go out, He just said go.
And remember, Jesus was radical for his time. He sat with women in his midst, spoke with tax collectors, welcomed children, and loved on lepers. So here’s to us seeing the world through his eyes alone!
I don’t know about any of you but for me the hardest part of any thing is getting started. I may leap at an idea whole heartedly when it is first presented, but with no thought to follow through I stumble in the first phases. Take writing this blog for example. When the opportunity to write, this little thing was presented, I was excited. I mean pumped. Especially to write about service, a subject I am entirely and wholly passionate about. But then the time came to write this thing, and let me tell you was it intimidating. All the ideas I had bumping around in my head went right out the window. I had never written a blog before. I don’t even think I had ever read one! So, I sit down to do this and I can’t. I write a little and then I delete it all. And I do this time after time because I was so intimidated by the task at hand I just can’t get started. This I believe to be doubly true for service. We want to jump in and serve God and others we want to make an impact for others BUT then life and our doubts get in the way. We wonder why should we serve, where to go and how to even get started. But let me promise you this once you do you will wonder why it was so hard to get started in the first place.
As to wondering why we should serve I think I could spend days talking on this subject alone. I think first and biggest reason to serve is that Jesus lives as a servant and encourages his disciples to do the same. In Mark 10:43-45, Jesus tells his disciples “But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant and whoever would be first among you must be slave to all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and gives his life as ransom for many.” This is a stout command from the king of kings however it falls in line with the 2nd greatest commandment “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Mt 22:39. The second reason to serve others is that serving is an act of worship to the Lord Most High. In the book of Acts and in other documentation of early church worship, we see a body of believers gathering together to eat, sing, and worship God. As an extension of this we see early Christians serving each other by sharing food in a time when being a Christian alone was grounds to have all your possessions stripped from you. Not only did they provide for other believers they fed widows and orphans. In Rome, the church went into catacombs and rivers to rescue unwanted children that were legally supposed to be left there as an “abortion.” This while Christians themselves were being persecuted to the extreme. Let’s compare that to our current situation. So with all our favor and blessing, how much more should we serve those around us!
As for the where and how of serving the great thing about college ministries is that a lot of the guess work is gone. We have staff and students who plan out the places and times for you to get out and serve. There are even people who will drive you and pour into you while you are there. While it may feel like there is little time to serve in college, I promise you that your time cannot be any better spent. I myself and countless numbers of my friends can testify that while we may think we are the ones serving we have been blessed beyond measure by the experience. Therefore, as you ride this roller coaster of a ride called college I hope you take time to serve those around you and give them a moment of peace in Christ.
Blessing in our Father,
Tennessee Baptist Churches giving through the Cooperative Program, the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions, and through the Chilhowee, Clinton, and Knox Baptist Association make this BCM ministry possible.