This post was written by Cole Simpson. Cole is one of our teaching team residents, currently serving with our Lexington church.
Dear Potential Resident,
When I was asked to write a short blog for potential future residents I thought about what I wish people would of told me before I started the Residency. So after some thought and prayer this blog/letter is what I thought would be the most helpful. The only thing I ask is that you take the time to read this letter in its entirety.
I think it is great that you are considering the Residency. It is a unique and incredible experience that will be more rewarding than you could possibly expect while simultaneously being less rewarding than you expect.
Residency Is a Big Deal
I think the first thing you need to know is that the Residency is a big deal and I know that you know this but, seriously, I want this to sink in for a minute.
The Residency is a big deal.
Here’s why, in Hebrews 13 the writer is telling the reader things that they should do in order to live a life that is pleasing to God (Something as Christians we tend to strive for today). One thing he specifically says is “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. “ (Hebrews 13:7). If you become a resident you will automatically be put into a position of leadership. You will be put over projects and people will look up to you and imitate their life after yours. James put it this way “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. “ (James 3:1). So people will imitate their life after yours and God will hold you to a higher accountability when you stand before him in heaven.
I want you to really ask the question why you want to do the Residency.
I want you to really pray about doing it.
I want you to ask yourself if you are ready for it.
Because if you think that the Residency is some how going to fix you then you are wrong. The Residency is a great experience, and you will be the same broken sinner after you have done it.
Residency Is Hard
The second thing I want you to know is that the Residency is hard. I have noticed that sometimes Residents, including myself, come in with a lot of expectations that Midtown is the best and working for Midtown will be full of unicorns and rainbows.
Support raising is hard.
Always serving is hard.
Doing the little things that seem meaningless is hard.
I want you to hear me, the Residency is hard.
Sometimes the Residency isn’t going to be fun. You will be given a lot of responsibilities and a lot will be expected of you. This isn’t a new concept, the writer of Hebrews had to tell the Jews:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1-3).
Residency is Sanctifying
Finally the most important thing is: the Residency is Sanctifying.
If you are a Resident you get to be in this cool environment where everyone is working together for the common goal, to glorify God. You will be given tasks but you will be looked at as a person with a soul not a cog in a machine. You will be surrounded by other Christians who will push you in your faith and will challenge you in ways that you have never experienced.
The Residency will be a new type of community that will embody the phrase, “As iron sharpens iron, one person sharpens another”(Proverbs 27:17).
If you will only remember one thing from this letter I want you to remember what Paul told the Corinthians,“ But [Christ] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (1 Corinthians 12:9).
There will be times during the Residency where you feel overwhelmed, tired, under appreciated, and like you can’t do anything right. But in spite of those things remember:
That you are more than just what you do. (Philippians 3:3-8)
Your feelings do not define you. (1 Kings 19:4-8)
You are a child of God whom he dearly loves. (Galatians 3:26-29)
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39).