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Into the Unknown
January 14, 2009
For the past five years, God has been preparing Tim Lin for the work he is doing for InterVarsity in the Kansas Area.
Starting this past fall, Tim left his staff work at Grinnell College in Iowa to become the planting area director for the Kansas Area, overseeing the development of four chapters: one at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, two at Kansas State University, and one at Johnson County Community College. God has been preparing Tim by developing his willingness to step out in faith, his reliance on God, and his excitement over seeing students’ lives change.
Stepping Out in Faith
Being able to take a step into the unknown has marked each point in Tim’s journey with InterVarsity. When he was in college, his chapter was staffed minimally by an itinerating staff worker, so before joining InterVarsity’s staff, he had little knowledge of what a full-time campus minister looked like.
Now as the new area director, he once again finds himself in a position that he knew little about before accepting the job. Until this year InterVarsity had only ONE established chapter in the area that Tim oversees – Kansas State University; now Tim and his staff team area are planting new chapters at two other schools. He and his team are marking a path through undeveloped terrain.
Tim admits that he is at times uncertain about what step to take next, but he remains confident that God will work through him, even if he makes a mistake. “I may not know the best way to go about things, but what I do know is that God works in spite of what I do. The knowledge that ultimately my work is in God’s hands helps me not to overestimate my abilities. It also helps me not to underestimate what God can do through me,” Tim said.
Tim’s past experience has helped him in leading his new staff team through their first semester. As the staff team plants new chapters, it is able to hone in on what works best for each particular school and discard those ideas that fail.
Though Tim and his team are learning much through trial and error, they are always looking for God to give them direction. “Because we try many things that don’t work and some that do, our jobs are very fast paced. We hope and pray that a God-given strategy will arise out of the first year of planting new chapters,” he said.
Relying On God
His ability to do things that he is unfamiliar with speaks of Tim’s reliance on God. When speaking about his role as an area director, he gives honor to God. Tim’s humble spirit allows others to see how actively the Lord is working.
Even though Tim is learning how to do campus ministry, the chapters at all four schools are growing. Each school has at least ten students committed to their InterVarsity chapter, and each chapter has hosted some type of evangelism event on campus. Tim attributes most of the chapter’s success in evangelism to the staff’s commitment to incorporating outreach into their planting strategies.
Witnessing the new chapters’ growth so quickly since his arrival in Kansas has reminded Tim about why he joined staff in the first place. “Seeing students’ lives change, particularly when they grasp the importance of mission, is the most exciting part of being on staff,” Tim said.
Seeing Students Transformed
His work at Grinnell, and now at Kansas, has been a testament to Tim’s passion for seeing students transformed; he brought with him two students from Grinnell, both of whom he mentored when they were in college and who have since decided to become staff interns.
They are following in Tim’s footsteps by incorporating evangelism into the structure of the new chapters. “One of the things that brings me the most joy and satisfaction is having two of the students I invested in at Grinnell learn the importance of mission and join me in Kansas City as InterVarsity interns.”
Tim’s first year as area director is only half way over – there is much to be accomplished before the end of the year. But his willingness to carve a path through unknown territory, and to follow God by depending on him means that Tim has an exciting journey ahead.
You can make a direct financial donation to support InterVarsity’s work in chapter planting in the Kansas area by following this link.