Summer is over for students. School is back in session. Reality has met us, whether we’re ready for it or not. It seems like only yesterday, and yet forever ago, that about seventy students gathered from Colorado, Arizona, Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska for Candlewood’s Summer Leadership Training program in Lincoln, NE.
All the participants lived with each other, either in host homes or in their own shared houses. It was an intense schedule of teachings, small groups, prayer nights, outreach, and service projects, almost every day for two months. Everyone learned a lot, processed a lot of life together, helped with dishes, did yard work, helped people move, invited new friends and coworkers to church and other events, shared the gospel, prayed hard, shared what God was teaching them at open mic nights, all in addition to working jobs, many full time! Thanks to the hard work of these students, lots of work got done for families in the church, and there were many new visitors on Sunday mornings.
It’s unique for many college students to give up their summers to work hard and put themselves through a program like this, and I am sure it will serve them well as they go home to their own campuses and churches this semester. I know for myself that it’s a much easier transition to the hectic pace of school, work, and ministry after a busy summer spent building relationships with others and focusing on my walk with God. That shouldn’t end, even when the rest of life picks up, and I’m excited to see all that God will do this fall at UNL, and to hear of what He’s doing elsewhere, especially at UNO, 60 miles northeast. I know we will see the effects of this summer in our lives years down the road.