Purpose Through Passion

Purpose Through Passion

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development, Resources 0 Comments

One of our desires at BASIC is to be relevant and connect you with content that is going to best help you as you serve your campus and ministry context! In an effort to bring in fresh perspective and new ideas, we have asked a few student leaders and advisors to share their voice! We’ll get to hear from one of them each month. This week, we have the honor of hearing from Kaitlyn Puukila.

Kaitlyn PuukilaHey guys! My name is Kaitlyn and I am a recent graduate from the University at Albany, where I served as BASIC President for 2 years. Although it came with some challenges, I loved every second of it and have seen God do some amazing things through BASIC. Now that I have joined the world of jobs and bills, I am SO excited to be here to share just a few thoughts with you, in hopes of giving you some encouragement… so please read on!

“The word passion comes from the Latin root pati-, meaning suffering, or enduring. Passion is, at its core, a form of pain that demands it be quenched.”

–Vivek Haldar

 Passion is one of God’s greatest creations, and is what helps us make a difference in the world. Passion is what drives a soldier to defend his country, or a man to protect his family. Passion takes away the fear and creates courage when you need to start a new chapter in your life. Passion is the verb that drives you to do things that you wouldn’t normally do.

So what are you passionate about? Is it dancing, singing or writing? Do you love animals or learning about new cultures? Do you have a passion for leading on your college campus? 1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s very grace.” But where to start? I have a gift and a passion, but how do I use it in my daily life to serve and bless God? 

The Bible says in Psalm 37:4, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desire of your heart.” Did you know that not only does God want to give us the desires of our hearts, but He’s the one who put them there? When we get to know God’s character and who He is, that’s when the desires of His heart become our own. Don’t get me wrong, it would be pretty sweet (pun very much intended) to say “please” and get giant bowl of ice-cream anytime I desired it. But what does passion have to do with knowing God?

When we start to desire the things God desires like love, joy, peace, forgiveness, and wisdom, that’s when God can use you no matter what you’re doing. Think of it this way, if God can use us when we have nothing to offer, imagine how much more we can be used when we ask Him to work through us in part of our lives where He’s created us to be passionate! Not only can He use us, but it brings Him joy to see us want to know Him better and use the gifts He’s given us.

So if we were made to be passionate, then why do we sometimes feel like we need to give up on the things we love in order to be a “good Christian”? Our culture wants to put God in a box, so it’s easy to start thinking He can only work through us when we are in church, at a bible study, or at our Basic groups where people already know about God. That is far from the truth though, and in fact quite the opposite. When we have a heart to serve, it’s not about leaving behind things we are passionate about. It’s about letting God be a part of those things and allowing Him to use your passion to speak to and love on people.

If you’re not sure what you’re passionate about, that’s okay! Take time to learn about yourself and ask God to reveal your passions to you. This site here is a great resource to do just that. God is not limited by your daily routine or by your adventurous lifestyle. There are no boundaries to how He can use you. All He requires is your willingness and a desire to know His heart, and that’s when you will begin to walk out your purpose through your passions.

About the Author

Sam DiStefano

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Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.

Managing Momentum

Managing Momentum

Ryan Raflowski Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Planning, Resources 0 Comments

Momentum is one of the most valuable forces in any organization. When you have individuals within who are connecting to your organizational vision and mission—then there is likely real movement happening. When you combine fervent prayer, the power of the Holy Spirit, and some good ole fashion momentum—even better!

Merriam Webster Dictionary defines momentum as a “strength or force gained by motion or by a series of events.” Ultimately, momentum is powerful. Imagine yourself standing at the top of a hill with a ball at your foot. With one small kick you can send the ball rolling down the hill, quickly gaining momentum. Suddenly, the ball is rolling faster and faster—with only a small amount of energy exerted. Now imagine standing at the bottom of this hill, trying to kick the ball upwards. You kick the ball upward only to have it continuously rolling back down again. You are now exerting tons of energy to try and get this ball up the hill—seemingly pointless.

In ministry, there are times when things seem to be going well and your efforts are easily met with reward. Then, there are other times where your efforts are met with resistance. Your actions and good intentions are like that ball rolling back down the hill over and over again. We want our ministries to make the best from momentum because it is the key to success. Let’s take a look at the three ways to manage momentum within your ministry.

Creating It

It makes sense that you have to build momentum in order to manage it. How do we build momentum in our ministry? Well, it is not always as easy as giving the ball a small nudge down the hill. Oftentimes, we may have to push a heavy stone ball inch by inch until momentum occurs.

Perhaps this manifests by continuously casting vision over your group. It isn’t uncommon for progress to be slow when sharing vision. Some members may not understand the vision or know how to practically latch onto it. One way to persevere through these challenges is to continue to share the vision. Our humanity often requires repetition for real change to happen.

You may wish to consider making the vision less ambiguous by providing practical ways your members can participate in the organizational vision. For example, if your group’s vision is to improve outreach then you should consider having a “Bring a Friend Along” night to give members a structured opportunity to practice living out the vision.

Lastly, it’s important to note that perseverance is key when trying to build momentum. Keep pushing that big boulder—with confidence that God is guiding you and directing you.

Maintaining It

How do you keep momentum going once you have it? It’s a good question, and the answer is passion. While all of our ministry work shouldn’t be driven by emotions, feelings of excitement can really break through the mundane. It’s important to note that, at this point, some individuals will have connected with the ministry’s vision. However, we must continue to cast and recast the vision over and over again to keep people inspired throughout the routines of ministry.

It’s easy to instill passion at the starting line of a race. It is harder to do this when runners are in the middle of a course. Continue to find ways to bring clarity and practicality to the group vision. As the group leader, it is also important to look at what your group members are currently passionate about. Is there a way to steer their current excitement towards the direction you feel the group should go?

Guiding It

By this point, the ball is rolling and you may be thinking “Thank God!” Remember that momentum is powerful, and if that ball hits a pebble or a groove it can easily get off track. The main point here is focus. You will want to create sturdy tracks to guide momentum and prevent wasting of momentum.

Wasted momentum refers to those well-intentioned, flashy, time-consuming projects or events that we often spend our organization’s energy and resources on, which unfortunately do little to accomplish the mission. Sure, it may feel like a great idea and energy well spent but does it bear good fruit? Does it move people towards the desired destination?

We need to create tracks or safeguards that guide our ministry. These tracks should pinpoint members to the mission and should fulfill the group’s purpose. It is the job of the leader to develop well-defined boundaries that keep the ministry moving along in the right direction.

Momentum can be stagnated by poor decisions, changes in leadership, or resistance from members. It is best to observe that things happen and we can oftentimes plan ahead for them. Take a second right now to observe what your group’s mission may be. If you don’t have a mission or vision, seek one out from the Lord! Then, find ways to develop momentum and guide your ministry towards achieving its purpose!

About the Author

Ryan Raflowski

Ryan is a school psychologist and co-advisor for the BASIC Chapter at SUNY Oswego. He desires to see a generation of young people recognize God's purpose and plan for their life. He tries to live "Kingdom-minded" and longs to see revival fire sweep across college campuses. You could probably find him walking around town playing Pokémon Go with his wife Kdee or indoors with their two cats Oliver and Lupin.