Drinking Deeply

Monday, October 24, 2005 at 11:15 AM

Vision Summer School Thoughts (8) - Reflection

All the posts in this series are done. Read them here

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I think I've posted all that I wanted to on the Vision Summer School thingamajig.

Some concluding thoughts on the matter:

1) Getting to know and serve alongside brothers and sisters for weeks was a blast. Sharing meals together and serving one another and praying with one another. Simply awesome.

2) The kids were very cute. The Korean moms were really awesome too. Their heart of service in spite of the language barrier and their willingness to mass produce amazingly good food was quite the blessing =)

3) That said, in reflection, I had a really rough time at Alaska, for a couple of reasons
a) Overwork - Other people were able to run on 3 or 4 hours of sleep consistently. I was not. My teaching, planning, and interactions swiftly went downhill after the first week. The lack of a weekend to rest was disappointing to say the least. Saturdays were the worst, having to wake up at 5:30 for a prayer meeting and then going on an all day excursion (in the interests of hanging out) rather than having a day of rest and rejuvination. Sundays thankfully were much lower key, having a full day to rest and an evening to plan. We were also expected to help plan for the revival and retreat and hang out with kids to build relationships. With the overwork, quiet times, prayer, meditation, reading Christian books, my typical staple of things that have built my relationship with God, all went down the drain. If it wasn't for the revival challenging my views, I might have not grown over the summer at all. Ugggg

b) Revival - I've already spoken about this a lot, but to put it short, having to defend my views and feeling like I was part of something that just wasn't right was very difficult for me. I felt like a jerk a lot of the times. I also feared greatly for the message conveyed to the students. ::sigh::

c) Spiritual deprivation - The teaching at Alaska was ... very weak to say the least. Most messages were along the lines of 1) read passage 2) tell story 3) talk about how story relates to passage. I will say that I was unable to learn a single thing from any of the messages. (This, however, must be qualified by the fact that I did not go to hear Chris, our youth director, speak because I always helped the children's). I guess I went to Alaska under the assumption that the teaching was ok, if not similar to that of KCPC (simply because people from past years had gone and no one complained). Boy was I wrong. The church was very seeker-driven, a big proponent of the Purpose Driven Church, the theology was ... well since they never actually looked at the Bible, I can't really make a call on their theology.

The worst thing that ever happened was that one week the head pastor went up there when there was a combined service (youth and KM) and shared "the Gospel according to Steve Jobs" (well, that's what I called it) where he basically summarized what Steve Jobs said at Stanford's graduation ceremony. Basically "do good" "want the best" "strive for it" This shocked me to say the least. No scripture. No Bible. Just a pep talk from a secular authority (well, I don't know if Steve Jobs is a Christian, but the talk was given in a decidely unChristian setting with no references to Christianity/God/Bible/Jesus at all).

There were no Bible studies. We had devotionals in the morning, but as we got worked worse and worse, these got shorter and shorter, and eventually people just stopped going. Yeah, my fault on these as much as anyone's.
4) Some Q&A

Would I go back?

Under a lot of conditions, one of them being a worldview shift of the entire church.

What are these conditions?

Email me: mcsheu @ gmail DOT com

Would I recommend anyone else to go?

Under the same conditions as I would specify above, yea,otherwise no

Didn't other people enjoy it and really grow a lot?

Yes I would say a lot of people enjoyed it. Some people built some really great relationships through Alaska. I did myself and I'm thankful for that, but the cost was quite high. With regards to their spiritual growth, that is really between them and God. I do know that God uses all things for His glory, so in that sense Alaska will be a molding ground for Him. I know that God used Alaska to change me, but that doesn't mean that I would want to recommend that to others.

What about all the friends you made?

I love them and wish them the best. It has been great getting to know them and serve with them. I pray for my class that God allowed me to teach. Maybe one of these days I'll go back and visit. I made a lot of close friends in Alaska, and strengthened a couple with those that are here at Stanford. But even with all of those, the costs are such that I would not wish upon others.

Is the church a false church then?

Depends on your definition of a false church I guess. I think there can be regenerate people there and it still being a false church. (similar to my belief that people can call themselves Catholics and be saved, while maintaining that the Roman Catholic Church is a false church)

What about all the people who made a decision for Christ at the retreat?

A decision doesn't make them a Christian. God makes them a Christian. The only way to tell if they are truly regenerate (or at least, show fruits of regeneration) is if they live it out for their lives. Additionally, numbers don't determine if something is a good thing or a bad thing. You can have a church of 30, but if you're preaching the Word faithfully, administering the Sacraments properly, and have church discipline in accordance to Scripture, then I would join it. There are a lot of megachurches that I would not join barring a miraculous repentance.

What do other people think of Alaska?

Ask them! I can provide email addresses if you're interested.

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