The Inspired Volunteer

A blog to inspire the Youth Volunteers of Shepherd Church

The god of Comfort — February 24, 2016

The god of Comfort

Post by: Garrison Polsgrove
Youth Discipleship Pastor at Shepherd Church

O the deceiving voice of the god of comfort! His voice is loud and promises relief, but in turn breeds shallowness and dissatisfaction. Those who choose to forgo challenge and instead take refuge in comfort become people who are never satisfied and continue to long for luxury. Seeking to chase comfort dulls the senses that tune with the Spirit of God. It places our pleasure on the throne of our lives. Thus, our energy is spent trying to avoid challenge and sacrifice for the purpose of pleasing our desire for comfort. AAHHHH!!!! This is me!!

However, I have learned that comfort is the enemy of growth. Luxury is the nemesis of maturity. If the god of comfort lives in a palace, then challenge and sacrifice are the forces that those within the palace try to keep out. Those who worship comfort experience internal peace momentarily because deep within he or she knows his or her life is wasting and God-given abilities are squandering.

The worshipers of comfort have learned to be great deceivers because they must convince themselves daily of their impact. Every day they repeat to themselves, “I’m making a difference…” “I’m growing…” “God is using me…” But the reason they must repeat those lines to themselves is because they know their impact and character is not anymore stronger or Christ-like than they were two years ago. Comfort promises fulfillment, but delivers an unquenchable hunger for more.

Despite my own personal struggles in following the god of comfort, the only way I have found to defeat following his well beaten path to shallowness is to purposefully and consciously invite challenge into my life. Challenge acts as a diamond plated grindstone cutting out selfishness and stinginess and polishes my character to look like Christ’s. But it hurts. It is by definition uncomfortable. My brain naturally resists challenge and would rather avoid it. However, my brain is conditioned to conserve energy and avoid risk, not to shape my character. Challenge is the conditioner of character. Inviting challenge that requires personal sacrifice is the action of rebels who seek to dethrone the god of comfort. Sacrifice seekers are the mighty-men of Christ the Spirit uses to accomplish what will last into eternity.

So look challenge in the face and invite it into your life. Make sacrifice your friend and ask it to accompany you throughout each day. Where challenge and sacrifice live dwells the peace that passes understanding.

Slow Down — February 16, 2016

Slow Down

Post by: Garrison Polsgrove
Youth Discipleship Pastor at Shepherd Church

Anything worth doing is worth doing well. Have you ever heard that saying before? It sounds like one of those phrases your grandfather tells you as he sits on the front porch whittling wood. It’s true, though! Maybe you have never said it, but I bet you have experienced it. I bet you have experienced it after you rushed through something important only to look back and think, “I wish I would have taken more time and did a better job.”

When we don’t take the time to do something well and the job itself is worth doing well, a feeling of “cheap” comes over us. Not the type of cheap we feel when we order a water alongside a fifty-dollar meal, but the cheap feeling that overwhelms us when we hurry through a meaningful conversation at church so we can get home catch to our favorite television show. The feeling that whispers to us, “You only have one life so was that really a moment you’ll be glad you rushed through?”

It is easy to drive home with a feeling of accomplishment after giving a mini-sermon to your students only to later realize you did not connect with them at all. Although listening may not be as exciting as getting to express all the wisdom you have collected over the years by talking for thirty minutes; connecting to your students by showing empathy will bring satisfaction in the long run.

Leading a D-Group of students is a privilege and one none of us should take lightly nor rush through. It is amazing to think we have the opportunity to add value to a student by listening to concerns and affirming who they are in the eyes of God. Although at times we may be tempted to rush through a meaningful interaction to beat traffic or get home to go to sleep, remember if you agree that student ministry is worth doing then let’s be sure we do it well.


The Road Is Long — February 9, 2016

The Road Is Long

Post by: Garrison Polsgrove
Youth Discipleship Pastor at Shepherd Church

In high school I told my track coach that running a four minute mile would be easy. I must have just drank an energy drink because a two-hundred and twenty pound fullback had no business running long distances. My track coach grabbed his stopwatch and said, “Let me see it then.” We walked out to the track circling the football field and the race began.

I started strong and after the first lap I heard him say, “You’re on pace.” I got so excited! After the second lap I heard him say, “You need to pick it up!” However, what he did not know was that my feet were burning and my lungs were in my throat. By the third lap I was jogging and by the fourth lap I was walking. I then discovered running a four minute mile was more difficult than I initially thought. My intention to accomplish something difficult might have been admirable, but taking on such a challenge without committing to train was foolish.

Committing to lead a Discipleship Group is similar to running a four minute mile. It is exciting to think about influencing a young person’s life and leading them to experience Christ, but it is difficult to commit to the weekly task of showing up and giving it your all even when you do not see immediate results.

Nothing makes you question your involvement more than enduring the long car rides home after groups pondering the question, “Am I even even making a difference?” Or spending a majority of your time with the students telling them not to use their cell phones or talk to the person next to them. Its tough! Especially when you are not the type of person who enjoys being a disciplinarian. Listen, I get it. I really do! You are serving in one of the most challenging ministries there is (second to cross-cultural missions). Students are confused and conflicted and worse is most do not have the vocabulary to express how they feel.

However, the road is long. Meaning, God does not have a stopwatch measuring your performance and basing His involvement off our weekly impact. Just how the Lord was patient with you while you were a student, He is pacing with with these students as well. Our role as leaders is not to measure our “mentor achievements” but to realize we are the coaches helping to train these students for life-long faithfulness to Christ.

So, as we begin this new semester let’s remember our role, not a measurer but a mentor. Let’s remember too that life-change does not happen in a sprint but over the course of training for a marathon.