Just over two years ago, I received a text message from the worship pastor of Eikon Church, Benji Block (you know, the one with strawberry blonde hair and the voice of an angel). In the text message he asked me to prayerfully consider moving from Minnesota to the steadily growing college town of San Marcos to help serve at a church with a name that is difficult to pronounce. Long story short, I said yes, and here I am—1,500 miles away from what used to be my home.
Upon arrival, my mission (or so I thought at the time) was to contribute my musical gifts to the worship experience at Eikon Church. To put it more eloquently, I was here to “Jam for the Lamb” or “Rock for the Flock” (inside joke). However, that isn’t all I’ve been able to do since moving to San Marcos. After a few short months of living here, I was volunteered as tribute to help co-lead the high school small group. If you know me at all, you know that authority and leadership do not come easy to me, and I was terrified at the mere thought of it….
It’s funny how God works sometimes, sort of like when parents teach their kid how to ride a bike. They hold on to the back of the seat, ASSURING you they will not let go, and as soon as those words are off their lips they push you full force down a hill that could make the scariest of roller coasters jealous! But it’s in those moments—white-knuckling the handlebars of life, going faster and farther than you dared hope—where you learn what you are capable of. When you come to a stop at the bottom of the hill, you can look back at the mountain of pavement behind you and say, “I conquered that.” Leading the high schoolers with devotionals and worship may sound easy to some, but for me I felt like the kid on the bike.
And yet … as I look back at some of the things I’ve seen, I am filled with WONDER. I’ve seen high schoolers come in having heard only whispers of God’s love leave inspired and encouraged, knowing that there is a God who is madly in love with them and telling them to “Be Not Afraid” as they face trials at school and the difficulties of growing up. I’ve seen youth students engage in worship, blocking out all distractions, and I’ve prayed with graduating seniors as they plunge into adulthood to face the giant that is “college”.
I used to think that my job in San Marcos was to melt the faces off the congregation on Sunday mornings with psychedelic guitar riffs, but God had something much bigger in mind. You see, looking back at the last two years knocks the wind out of me because God took what I thought my job or purpose for being here was and blew it out of the water. In just a few days Eikon is launching a BIG service for youth students across Hays County. I am so ready and excited to see young kids find a place where God’s love can be communicated to them in an environment created and engineered with them in mind.
The last two years have not looked the way I thought they would when I first signed up for this journey. The thing is, I wouldn’t change anything. I hope you can be encouraged as you read this. Maybe you feel like you’ve been working the same 9 to 5 job one day too many and that God’s plan has escaped you or that you’ve somehow missed your secret “window of opportunity”. Maybe you feel overwhelmed with schoolwork or just with life in general. I’d like to tell you that just because your life doesn’t always conform to an unspoken ideal in your mind does NOT mean that God isn’t working IN and THROUGH your life. Keep on keeping on and hang on to those handle bars. You’ve got what it takes!
– Ethan Larson