STORIES from a missionary: Joel Mathews

2.05.2015 |

matthew 28:19 says " go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."  Joel Mathews goes into the college campus of Purdue University to build relationships, demonstrate the love of jesus, and share the forever life-changing truths of jesus's plan of redemption for each one of us.  read his story below:

Soon after becoming a Christian in college, I had a growing desire to go into fulI-time ministry, but just didn’t know what. When I was offered a job with Campus Outreach upon graduation, I felt it was good fit with what I desired as well as God’s calling on my life. I was hired by Christ Community Church as a staff member with Campus Outreach soon after, but I didn’t necessarily choose Purdue, but was placed here due to the staffing need.

Purdue is in West Lafayette, Indiana.  I started here in Fall of 2013.

My role with Campus Outreach is as our only Greek Life Staff. I was Greek in college, I love Greek Life, and love remaining a part of it, especially with how prominent Greek Life at Purdue is.

Though God teaches His children all sorts of things continually, I think full-time ministry is unique in the intensity with which God teaches His children. There are all sorts of things I could point to:

  • How I practically often prefer those I’m ministering to’s approval and acceptance over God’s
  • How I often talk more about God, than I talk to God
  • How my focus on ministering to others often leads to the neglect of my own personal worship, the pressure to “produce”, build and maintain a booming ministry
  • etc

For sake of keeping this short, I will just highlight one thing that I think is at the heart of many of these personal pressures and struggles that accompany me in ministry. I will call it the “dependency” struggle. Paul Miller in his book, “A Praying Life”, says that “a dependent life is a prayerful life” and that “a praying life is a life that acknowledges we cannot do life on our own”. It is easy working in ministry in America to attempt to carry all the burdens of those I’m ministering too as well as my own. It is easy to go days, weeks, even months with little to no prayer life. I just read an article this morning that quoted Tim Keller elaborating on Matthew 6:5-6. He said, “The infallible test of spiritual integrity, Jesus says, is your private prayer life.” This is challenging passage as I evaluate my own spiritual life by it. 

In summary, I think God has been teaching me the necessity for regular scheduled times of prayer along with the spontaneous ones that come when its obvious I can do life on my own. Realizing more clearly my role to be faithful and God’s role to draw and save has been a wonderful lesson throughout the past year and a half, and it has been one that has been freeing me to simply know and enjoy Jesus more as I seek Him not so He will bless me or my work, but simply that I may have more of Him.

If you would like to support Joel in his ministry, please click HERE.

Find out more about Joel Mathews and the impact Joel get's to take part in on the Purdue Campus, please click HERE.

To visit Campus Outreach on Facebook, please click the photo below.

up next: Rachel Witbeck shares her heart on the joys and challenges of serving at an all-girls camp in the Black Mountains of North Carolina for an entire summer. 

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