August 2020

In the past few months, my work, at times, has felt like a sludge through thick mud. Odds are that you can relate. Last week I realized that I'd been simply going through the motions of pastoral care, a bit disconnected from the majesty of the God who called me to it. I'd wake up, attend my virtual meetings with the team or students, attend to my admin work to make sure things stayed organized, check up on the handful of students in my care who are in precarious situations, study the word or a book to aid in my ministry. In all of that, life began to feel monotonous. My sense of urgency waned. 

So I prayed. And I asked others to pray. I prayed that God would renew me - that I'd remember how magical it felt to hear God call, and then to respond, trembling, "here I am Lord, send me!" (Isaiah 6:8).

And then, I watched 'Parks and Recreation' on Netflix for the better part of a Saturday. It was a lot of fun and didn't at all feel very spiritual. But it was just that, spiritual. God sat with me on the couch and laughed at Andy pretending to be an FBI agent, Ben not understanding the craze behind a miniature horse. Then he started talking to me about Leslie Knope. If you haven't seen the show, Leslie is a government employee who works tirelessly, with a tenacity that is arguably insane. She strives to better her small town - which punishes her for it in return. When any sane person would quit, grow weary, or become cynical, Leslie just keeps plowing with a smile on her face. 

By the series finale, 7 seasons later, the small town of Pawnee, Indiana is unquestionably better off. Leslie, having leveled up from Deputy Director of the Parks Department to the Governor of Indiana, quotes Teddy Roosevelt in her commencement speech to university graduates: 

"The greatest gift life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." 

That clicked for me, as if a revelation from God himself. In the following days, I was much more able to see the beauty of what God was doing in and through me as I worked hard at work worth doing. I saw him tinkering in me, causing me to become more valuable in ministry. As I worked faithfully - having conversations, emailing, texting, zoom calling, reading - he was there shaping me. I saw seeds planted in the young people that I worked with, I hoped for them, yearned for their growth in God.

The motivation came in a flood. What I do is so important. People's lives are being transformed by God's grace. Young people are learning to think for themselves, learning to discern God's voice from the lying rhetoric of the world. Generations are being formed in each on of them, legacies of godliness and truth. 

Leslie understood that in the end, the tortoise wins the race. So wherever you are, in whatever call he's placed on your life, I'm asking God to fill you with motivation to work hard at work worth doing - to serve whole-heartedly, becoming the person he created you to be as you do it. 

Prayer requests: 
  • The academic school year is about to start, so we're getting our student leaders ready to lead! I'll be leading two small groups. One with Stephanie, and the other with Jordan. 
  • Missionally speaking, this year will look vastly different from years past. I'll be on campus, with 2 chairs set 6-feet apart, and a sign that reads: 'I'm a Christian pastor. If you want to sit and talk at a safe distance, please join me.' Ask God to bless that and help me to hear what he wants! 
  • Everything we're doing this year has safety in mind. Our small groups will be required to meet outside, socially distanced, and will be capped out at 6 people. Ask God to help us make the most of that time together, while protecting us and our families from disease. 
  • Pedro's little sister, Aless, is joining us at Collin College this year as a freshman! Pray for her, and all the other incoming students who might feel isolated or at a loss for how to engage in community. 
Thank you for reading and leading in the spaces that you are. 

For the King's kingdom, 
Kristen Paz 
Campus Missionary to Collin College 

We met in person for our last TNF of the summer. Each one of these students had masks on, and hugging wasn't allowed! Even still, it was a really sweet reunion.


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