A Letter to a College Student who Attended Jubilee

Dear college student who attended Jubilee,

First of all I want to say thanks for your commitment to Christ and your excitement about life. Being around you really inspired me and my faith. You helped restore my hope for the future of the Christian faith.

StageI love your optimistic outlook on life, but I would caution you to not be too idealistic. If you are too idealistic then you are going to get the wind knocked out of you. Life happens. Health concerns and tragedy derail well planned things. Please remember that God made the world “good” and then invited Adam and Eve to play a part in making it better. I’ll be honest—I don’t think there is a perfect spouse or a perfect job out there for you. Never be willing to settle for anything other than God’s will, but also be willing to go wherever God sends you. It will probably not be perfect. Opportunities come dressed in work clothes. Great things don’t fall into your lap. They take time.

Please hear me—there is no perfect church out there either. I am sorry that the church has not had the vigorous theology or the vibrant faith that you have been exposed to at a place like Jubilee. In fact, the church can be full of judgmental and mean people. I am sorry that the organ music does not have the wow factor of the worship at a place like Jubilee. But the church is still God’s bride even as ugly as it can be. Jesus says the gates of Hell can’t prevail against the church. (Mt 16:18) Jesus so identifies with the church that when He stops Paul on the way to persecute Christians that Jesus asks, “Why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4) Don’t give up on the church—especially the traditional churches. Decide that you are going to go somewhere and help make it better. We need your voice. We need your energy. We need your ideas.

Never stop growing in your faith. Most big things in life are accomplished by inches for the long haul. Have patience. It is great to head to a mountaintop experience like Jubilee to get closer to God, but real life is lived in the valley. Real faith is developed on boring days and in normal experiences.

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Continue to think deeply and don’t get stuck. Every generation starts with energy but stops along the way. Just think about your parents fashion styles or musical choices. We all have a tendency to stop trying new things and stop growing as get older. Have a long term perspective. Keep growing. Keep going deeper in your theology. In your whole lifetime you will never be able to plumb the depths of who God is. Make every effort to try.

Finally, follow Jesus wherever He leads you. I want you to be great leaders and have a big impact on the world, but you need to remember that in the Christian faith we lead by following. Have the focus to always be discerning God’s will and the boldness to go where God leads you even when it does not make a lot of sense to the world.

Blessings wherever God takes you,

Pastor Jordan Rimmer

How Jubilee Impressed the Heck out of Me

Jubilee was a great experience for me. It was really refreshing. I enjoyed great worship, speakers, and breakouts. There was a lot to be impressed with, but one thing impressed me above all else—the serious faith of these students!! Their relationship with God was not just a small part of their lives. It was integral to who they are.

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For example, the Hearts and Minds Bookstore (Website) had an outstanding selection of resources around a ton of topics. There were sections devoted to all kinds of careers and interests. For example- art, nursing, psychology, sports, writing… There were a bunch of categories including a very strong theology section. As I was in heaven looking through all the books, I struck up a brief conversation with a girl who was looking at books on a theological understanding of disability and how the church should return. I asked her why she was interested in the topic. She told me that she was a going to be a special education teacher the next year and wanted to know how to be a Christian in that field.

This conversation highlights what was for me the most encouraging part of being a Jubilee. These were students thinking very significantly about living out their faith to have an impact on their world. As one of the MC’s put it, these students were considering how to serve God “in every nook and cranny of their lives.”

The theological content of this conference was deeper and more robust than it has been at a number of pastor’s conferences I have attended. The main sessions of the conference were built around the theological story of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. There was intentional Trinitarian language of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in just about all of the sessions and workshops that I heard.

One of the theological topics was imago dei. This is the idea that we were made in the image of God. Several speakers talked about how we were made in the image of God individually but that we are also corporately made in God’s image. In other words, Adam and Eve each have God’s image but also have God’s image together. While I was walking around I overheard 2 different conversations of different students discussing whether we they agreed with this corporate understanding of imago dei. They were concerned that this might sound like pantheism or like a universal salvation. They were engaging with the theology and really thinking about it.

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Many Christians in America today would not know what that term even means, let alone be able to think about it so deeply. I wish I could have an influx of these kinds of Christians in my church and in many other mainline churches I know. But therein lies my worry—would these students with their serious faith their high hopes for the future be willing to be a part of a small, passive, and established church in a mainline denomination? Or would they go crazy seeing the passivity of the members of many of mainline churches today?

Despite my worry, I found these students really encouraging for the future of the church. I trust that if they base their lives around pursuing God’s will then God will use them to lead the church into the future. The church is not doomed. There is a new generation of leadership coming. Thanks Jubilee and CCO for your work to help the church and world in this way.

Jubilee Blog: What is the Jubilee Conference?

I was invited to attend the Jubilee Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. I will be blogging and tweeting my through it. It occurs to me that a number of people who read my blog have no idea what the Jubilee Conference is, so here is some background info.

Jubilee is a conference put on by the Coalition for Christian Outreach. This ministry, often called CCO, was started in 1971 as a ministry for college students. CCO tries to cooperate with churches and colleges to place staff members in the position to work with college age students. Staff often raises all or part of their own support while the church or university covers the remaining amount. CCO staff is involved on campuses doing things like Bible studies, international ministry students, outdoor education (where I have the most experience with their staff members), athletic ministries, and all kinds of other things. I have worked with and been friends with a number of current and former staff and I have the utmost of respect for how this organization forms the faith of its staff. (Check out more history at http://www.ccojubilee.org/about-us/our-history/)

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Jubilee is the annual gathering for CCO students. For 38 years, thousands of college kids from schools with a CCO presence converge on Pittsburgh, PA. This year has over 50 speakers in workshops on all kinds of important topics. Some of them include: faith and science, human sexuality, international ministry, seminary, writing, art and faith… The list goes on and on. When I look at the list, I can’t help but be amazed. There is a workshop for just about every area of life that a college student could consider applying their faith.

I have never been to Jubilee but I have heard from friends in CCO how much fun it is. I am excited to see that in action. Bob Goff is speaking. His book Love Does was a very fun read and he will be excellent. There will also be a superb bookstore put together by Byron Borger of Hearts and Minds Books. http://www.heartsandmindsbooks.com/

I am going to have fun. I am praying it is a time of refreshment for me personally as well. I think I am only nervous about one thing: feeling old!

I will be Tweeting, Facebooking, and blogging my way through it. You can follow me/friend me
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/jordanscottrimmer
Twitter- @jrimmer21
Blog- http://www.jordanrimmer.com

Check out info on the conference at http://www.jubileeconference.com/
Follow along with the hashtag #Jubilee2015