A Letter to the Orange Team

This is a copy of the letter I recently sent to the staff I will be leading this summer. We will be traveling across the country facilitating summer camps and spreading the name of Jesus Christ. I hope this will give you some insight into how you can be praying for us as we encounter thousands of teenagers in need of the gospel in the coming months.

Student Life Orange Team,

Let me be the first to say welcome to the 2011 Student Life Orange Team. Your Event Coordinator, Leigh, and I are so glad to finally be able to say that. Today is the culmination of hundreds of applications from all over the country (and world), countless hours of interviews, and many days of meetings. We are very excited that you will be serving alongside us this summer to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This summer you get the blessing of seeing students interact with their Father and Creator, many for the very first time. I hope you share my desire to see students interact with Christ on a personal level and have the time of their lives while doing it. But the students won’t be the only ones to leave this summer changed.
I’ve never met a staff member who has left the same person they were when they started the summer. You are about to begin a special time in your life. It will test your limits physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually, but you will emerge better for it. God is going to do an incredible work through you and in you, if you will allow Him to. You may be reading this and thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?” or “Oh, this is real now. I’m not ready”. I had these same thoughts my first summer and also when I moved into leadership on staff. Here’s what you need to know about your feelings of inadequacy: those feelings are completely valid and rooted in the truth that YOU ARE INADEQUATE. Of your own strength, you will fail as a minister this summer. Of your own strength, you fail as a teammate this summer. It is designed to be this way. But through Christ we are more than conquerors.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’ s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
"For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."
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 8:31-39

This idea that we are “more than conquerors” will be a theme for our team this summer and you will be reminded of it on a regular basis. Be encouraged knowing that you will not be left to your own strength to do His work in the coming months. As Christians, we have all been given the gift of the Holy Spirit who is living and active within us. We have the same Spirit at work within us that gave Peter and John the words and courage to address the Sanhedrin in Acts 4. By that power, filled with that Spirit, we approach this summer both with humility and confidence.
I’ll continue to count down the days till we meet here in Birmingham. Know that I am praying for each of you by name. God has a specific plan to use each of you this summer for His glory and I am excited to see the Kingdom impact. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns as you prepare for camp. 

Ryan Childress

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