Author Info: Blane has served on staff at AU Chi Alpha for several years and became the Director in the Fall of 2014. This New Mexico native is a proud graduate of the University of Alabama but has fallen in love with the big city. He and his wife (Hannah) moved to DC to complete the DC Chi Alpha CMIT Program under Mike & Jen Godzwa. They are parents to a pretty amazing toddler, Jeremiah. You'll find him biking around DC in search of a coffee by day and pouring over a book by night. You can find him at www.blaneyoung.com, and connect with him via our AU Chi Alpha Staff Page.
As many of you know, most of the staff from AU Chi Alpha and GU Chi Alpha recently attended a staff development conference called INCITE. For those that are Chi Alpha students, it’s basically SICM but for staff!
One of the speakers was Dave Gable. He is seventy years young and has served as a pastor, Chi Alpha Staff and even the National Chi Alpha Director! Currently, he serves as an overseeing chaplain at the National Parks Service in California. He shared key moments, of success and failure, from over four decades of full-time ministry experience. He was one of those guys with a hundred stories and even more wisdom. He talked at length on the themes of cultivating the mind you want to have through Christ and creating habits that will help you forty years from now. Talk about perspective!
I was also honored for five years of service to Chi Alpha. I can’t believe I’ve been at American University longer than I spent at my own school, the University of Alabama. What was even cooler, was that some friends of mine, Mark and Sue, were honored for twenty-five years of service to Chi Alpha! It makes me want to try and catch them!
Due to Dave’s insightful sessions coupled with realizing that I’d reached one of my first longevity milestones (albeit five years isn’t that long!), I’ve begun to process some of what I’ve learned throughout the past five years. And like any helpful, slightly cheesy pastor, I thought I’d organize this post with that prayer framework that I seem to always be sharing with students – Jesus. Others. Yourself.
I’m constantly reminded that Jesus is both worthy of all of our praise and yet He’s a humble friend. He cares more about my ministry than I do and even more, cares more about my soul than my productivity. Of course, I would’ve agreed with all of these things five years ago, but I think they have really started to sink into my being, by the grace of God.
I’ve also learned that He’s never let me down and He isn’t planning on starting now. I love this quote from Tim Keller, “We can be sure our prayers are answered precisely in the way we would want them to be answered if we knew everything God knows.” That sums it up so well, doesn't it?
This list is by no means exhaustive, but I keep coming back to my favorite chapter in the Bible, James 4. If I draw near to Jesus, He will draw near to me. I always joke with students that if you ever come up to me for prayer at one of our worship services, I’ll likely pray that verse over you. And by likely, it’s pretty much guaranteed. Lately, however, I’ve been focusing on the second part of that verse which encourages us to check ourselves, so that we aren’t ‘double-minded’ in our expectations. In other words, ask confidently. Pray with anticipation. Seek God knowing that He will answer. I knew this was an area of my life that needed some work when I realized how big my prayers were for others yet how small they were for myself.
I would pray that God would help new Chi Alpha CMITs (Interns) raise their budget, I would even boldly pray for monthly supports at $500 a month and for $1000 one-time gifts. Yet, when it came to my own finances (when I finally did pray), I would ask God for a $30 monthly supporter and even then, I asked half-heartedly! So, this verse has been so convicted but has also led me to walk hand-in-hand with the giver of all good things.
I’ve learned that boundaries are there to help me so that I can help others. They aren’t there to protect my heart but instead, to protect or ensure that I am always able to pick up the servant’s towel.
This quote from Henry Cloud has been revolutionizing (I mean that!) my thinking and decision-making lately. “Some people are wise, some are fools, and some are are evil.” He’s basically talking about the types or roles that people can play in your organization, or team or community. For the longest time, I thought there were only two groups: right and wrong. Or to use his language, wise or evil. But then I realized that most of my life I spent as a ‘foolish’ Christian. One whose intentions were well-meaning but I was off the mark (in so many ways!). This has helped me in my mentoring and leadership because each of these different types of people (or it could be thought of as moods), needs a different approach. And what I love about this, is that we are called to minister to all people – regardless of their motives or mood. However, it’s difficult to serve someone when we don’t know where or how they are in need. Plus, if I don’t have a category for ‘foolish’ or ‘unlearned’ or ‘clueless’, then the stakes are so high every day. I love when people don’t know things, it is the perfect time and chance to share and teach!
Well, this should be “myself” but then the acronym falls apart, so, yeah. Anyways.
I’ve learned that I have limits (Jeremiah, my son, really helped me with that!). I’ve learned that it’s okay to not be okay but it’s not okay to stay there (I stole that from Matt Chandler). I’ve learned to ask for help, that what burdens me be a blessing for someone else.
I’ve learned that I need to meet with a therapist often and take my medications daily.
I’ve learned that God created me and wired me in a certain way, and I should embrace that and allow Him to sanctify parts of me that are messy and sinful.
I’ve learned that leadership is the willingness to be misunderstood but I love being understood and liked, so that’s a daily tension.
I’ve learned that I am surrounded by some of the brightest students in the world, and some of the most loving and amazing people in our staff team, city team and church partner network.
I’ve learned that I married up. Hannah is the reason I’m still in Chi Alpha, she’s an anchor to me and a wonderful mother. (I’ve also learned I may never even get close to beating her at LetterPress.)
I’ve learned that watching films with a friend is recharging, cooking is fun (when there isn’t a rush) and that I’ve become a coffee snob.
Published on July 12, 2016 • Short link: http://bit.ly/29C8QQF