Friday, April 18, 2014

Meet the Team: Jesse Francis Crowley

This post is part of a series called "Meet the Team" introducing you to our Generation LINK staff. We hope it will help you get to know Generation LINK staff members serving around the country a little better.

Who Am I?
Thirty some years ago in a forgotten Florida town, to a young couple just outside of their university experience, I was born.

(I apologize for the drama)

My father was a strict-ruled cop and my mother, a soft-hearted child therapist. Life was interesting. From my father I learned rules, from my mother I learned grace—and the importance of eating spinach. It wasn’t until the age of 16 that I came face to face with the reality of Jesus.

Transformation. Death to life.

I am now a Pastor in Miami. I have a lovely wife of 10 years and two precious girls who have taught me more in 3 years than the whole of my public education. I will always continue to learn and see the days before me as brighter and fuller than the days behind.

Generation Link and it’s future: Miami
Miami is a city in need. We have several large universities full of young people who need Jesus. Because of the make-up of some Miami campuses the students are unreached and unengaged.

The 2014 summer of Gen:Link is 6 weeks. Our focus is foundation building, gospel-saturating and leader equipping. As a team we are working alongside the ministry of a 3-year old church plant, Providence Road Church.

We still have room for several more applicants. If you are reading this you are being called.

Currently I am reading two books. Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton. This book is beautiful. It is the autobiography of a man who went through a life transformation, became a monk and devoted himself to contemplation. Beautiful poetry though slightly anti-protestant.

I’m also reading God’s Battalions by Rodney Stark. I have too many conversations where people bash on Christianity because of the Crusades—I picked this up because I am tired of being ignorant on the subject.

Spare time
What an interesting concept, spare time. Oh how I wish this was a regular reality in my life. When it happens, a good book, a conversation or an extremely embellished story are always well received.

When I have the chance I enjoy a cup of fine quality black coffee. The more the owner knows about the farm my coffee was picked, the better the coffee. I have my spots in Miami, ask and you shall receive.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Meet the Team: Michael Guyer

This post is part of a series called "Meet the Team" introducing you to our Generation LINK staff. We hope it will help you get to know Generation LINK staff members serving around the country a little better.

Tell us a little about your bio (studies, work experience, family, etc.)

I am originally from Fayetteville, Arkansas. I came to know Christ as a teenager in high school. God began changing my life and giving me new desires for him that I never could have imagined. One of those desires was to serve him in full-time ministry. That desire took me to college at Liberty University. It was in college that I met my wife. I graduated a year before she did and moved to Dallas, TX. In that year, I convinced her to move to Dallas when she graduated. In what was unplanned by us but definitely God’s plan at work, we ended up moving to Wake Forest, NC four months after Emily moved to Dallas. God provided a job at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and shortly after we arrived we connected with Open Door Church. During our time at Open Door, Emily and I grew as a couple, were invested in by other godly couples, and were married on March 5, 2011. Our daughter, Amelia Ruth, was born on October 30, 2013. It has been an incredible journey welcoming her into our lives. We are loving being parents, serving together in ministry, being a part of community at Open Door, and reaching others with goods new of Jesus Christ.

In addition to the serving as the Generation LINK Raleigh Area Director, I serve as the Minister to Students at Open Church. I have the joy of investing in middle and high school students as well as college students. Before coming on staff at Open Door, I worked in the president’s office at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. I served in various intern roles throughout college and my first years of seminary at churches in Arkansas and Texas. Outside of ministry my most interesting job was my first job as a door-to-door newspaper salesman for the Northwest Arkansas Morning News. Residents couldn’t resist my charm and good looks.

I  completed my undergraduate degree at Liberty University and an M.Div from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. I am currently working on a PhD in Biblical Studies at Southeastern. I desire to serve the church by helping God's people understand their mission and carry it out in this world. I am excited to be a part of equipping the next generation of disciple makers through the local church.

What does Generation LINK look like at your church/location?

Currently, we are in the beginning stages of developing the full potential of Generation LINK at Open Door. We currently have one GLINK Resident—Paul Whitfield—who is being equipped and serving on our staff at Open Door. Paul functions as a church planting resident and serves primarily under our Lead Pastor, Dwayne Milioni. Paul has and is helping us establish a pattern and plan for training and equipping future missionaries, church planters, church planting team members, and pastors. We are looking to add both male and female GLINK residents in the coming two to three years. Generation LINK functions in two primary ways at Open Door: 1) an initial equipping and service opportunity for seminary and post-undergraduate students who desire to serve the church in some capacity in the future (1-2 years) and 2) a capstone equipping opportunity for church planters and missionaries before they are sent out from the local church.

How have you seen God use Generation LINK in your location?

God has used Generation LINK in a number of ways at Open Door. Three significant ways are: 1) GLINK has strengthened our training and equipping strategy. 2) GLINK has opened up and deepened partnerships with other like-minded churches and church plants. The value of GLINK is measured not only by its impact within our own local church, but in relationship to the other churches we are able to serve through partnering together. 3) GLINK is allowing us to invest in future leaders, pastors, missionaries, and church planters in a strategic way. Open Door has been committed to this vision before GLINK came into the picture, but GLINK has allowed us to do this even more intentionally through the residency.

What excites you most about the future of Generation LINK?

I get most excited about the potential of training men and women for the sake of gospel, some of whom will be faithful church members and reach their communities with the gospel, others who will be pastors of established churches, and others who will be church planters to unreached and underserved cities and communities in North America and around the world. Generation LINK is the tangible vehicle for this actually coming to fruition. It allows us the opportunity to invest in those God has entrusted to us and is an invaluable opportunity for our residents to be equipped and sent.

What 2-3 books have been most formative in your walk with Christ?

This kind of question always makes me a little anxious because I either can’t remember some of the books I’ve read or I start think about all the books I wish I had read. Here are a few that I remember reading and that I am grateful for doing so:

Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J. I. Packer. This book grounded by passion for sharing the gospel in the confidence of God’s sovereignty. Knowing God’s sovereignty should not dampen our passion to share the gospel, rather it should make us bold, patient, and prayerful. God taught me through this book that successful evangelism is being faithful to the gospel (both its message and its invitation) and trusting God with the response. In fact, in the process of writing this blog post, I had the opportunity to lead one of our students to Christ. I think I might just need to go back and read this one again!

Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. This book hit me like a ton of bricks when I read it. I probably underlined 80% of the book. I didn’t quite know what God was going to do with my life after I read it, but I knew I didn’t want to be counting seashells—I didn’t want to waste my life but I wanted to spend my life for the sake of the gospel among the nations. I think I read a few mission biographies around this time as well, which contributed to the work God was doing in my heart (John Paton by James Paton, Five Who Changed the World by Danny Akin, From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya by Ruth Tucker). “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Downpour by James MacDonald. I’m not sure who gave me this book, but God used it and the biblical passages it walked through to teach me the true weight and offense of my sin and the nature and joy of repentance. I learned that repentance not only marked the beginning of the Christian life but characterized the entirety of it.

I commend any of these books to you, but know that their contents will not allow you to stay the same!

What are your favorite things to do in your free time?

This is an interesting concept—free time. When I do get a little free time, I love spending time with my wife and our daughter. If I’m not spending time with them, I enjoy reading, a round of golf, hanging out with friends, going to a good coffee shop, and I even enjoy doing a little work around the house.

What is your typical coffee shop order?

If I am not feeling snobby—a grande black coffee from Starbucks with room for cream (but only because they fill the cup up so much that it spills over and burns my hand). If I am feely snobby and have a little extra cash, I go to the hipster coffee shops and usually order a pour over of some coffee that I can’t pronounce (typically, it’s from Africa).

Michael Guyer

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

International Spring Break Trip 2014

Last week was Clemson’s Spring Break and we took 46 people up to Washington D.C. to tour the capital and build relationships. We had roughly 26 international students and 20 Americans. It was an amazing time of building friendships and enjoying each other’s company for 5 days! I personally benefited from the trip more than words could express. The Lord taught me much about His heart for the nations – and that He will fulfill His purpose and plan. One day, we know that some from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation will stand before the throne and before the Lamb, singing of the worthiness of the Lord in unison (Rev. 5:9; Rev. 7:9). What an amazing promise that propels us to wake up and see every day as an opportunity to be on mission to share the Gospel with the lost! I was thoroughly blessed by all of the students on the trip and we were able to really bond together and enjoy each other. Relationships were built that have already continued since being back in Clemson! Please be in prayer for these relationships to continue to flourish and for the Gospel to be clearly proclaimed to the nations among us here in Clemson! Some families from Crosspoint Church will be opening up their homes to the Americans and Internationals who were on the trip to have them over for dinner within the next month. We are excited about the relationships that began this past week and how the Lord is going to continue to work through them! Praise the Lord for His glorious Gospel!

Walking around the University of Maryland's campus
Touring downtown Annapolis, MD
Authentic Ethiopian food
At the WWII Memorial
There were lots of snowball fights!
White House
Authentic Chinese food 

by: Marie Cudd

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Meet the Team: Mary Emily Slott

This post is part of a series called "Meet the Team" introducing you to our Generation LINK staff. We hope it will help you get to know Generation LINK staff members serving around the country a little better. 

Where did you graduate from and what did you study?
I graduated from Baylor University in May of 2011 with my B.A. in Religion.

What led you to do Generation LINK?
From the time I was in middle school, I thought I wanted to work in ministry.  During my junior year at Baylor, I started doubting that calling and even decided to pursue a different career path.  After I graduated from Baylor University, I moved to Clemson and began taking classes at the university.  My first Sunday in town, I visited Crosspoint Church and I joined a small group.  God really used my small group to open me back up to ministry work.  Getting to interact with the Bible and people on a less academic level really softened me.  I thought about attending seminary but wasn't sure what degree to pursue and what I would do after seminary.  My small group leader encouraged me to look into Generation LINK.  It seemed like a good place to grow/mature, to take time to figure some things out, and to serve the local body.

Which location and what areas of ministry do you serve with through Generation LINK?
I work at Crosspoint Church is a variety of administrative roles.  I assist in Women’s Ministry, Assimilation Ministry (helping visitors become members and helping those who leave assimilate out), First Impressions (our ministry to our visitors), and I assist the Senior Pastor.

What are you most excited about in your area of ministry?
I really enjoy watching our members serve the church.  It is exciting when visitors come, realize how awesome our church is, want to be apart of it, and then contribute to it using their gifts.  We have a big church and our members are so diverse in their backgrounds, walks with the Lord, and how the Lord has gifted them.  It is so exciting to see people use their gifts for the edification of the church and glory of God!!!!!!

What 2-3 books have been most formative in your walk with Christ?
Yeah…funny enough…I can’t think of one.  Don’t worry, I can read and I do read.  But when I think about my walk with the Lord and growing in it, I think more about the people who have influenced me over the years or I think about sermons I have heard or the small groups I have been apart of.   

What are your favorite things to do in your free time?
When I'm not working or studying, I just like to spend time with friends.  I don't know that I much care what we do, just as long as we're hanging out.  During the summer, I like to go to the beach, play sports outside, and watch the Braves play.  Most nights after a long day, you can find me on my couch watching t.v. or listening to music.  

What is your typical coffee shop order?

The coffee shop order heavily depends on the coffee shop and the season.  If I were to go to a coffee shop today when its 70 degrees outside (Welcome to February in South Carolina!), then I would get an iced drink of some sort like a caramel machiatto or a mocha latte.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Meet the Team: Josh Dorrity

This post is part of a series called "Meet the Team" introducing you to our Generation LINK staff. We hope it will help you get to know Generation LINK staff members serving around the country a little better. 

Where did you graduate from and what did you study?

I graduated from Clemson University in August, 2012 with a BA degree in Sociology and a Communication Studies minor.

What led you to do Generation LINK?

I've been involved in Crosspoint Church in Clemson since the 2nd week of my freshman year at Clemson. I've grown to love the local church and served in various areas such as Children's ministry, Student ministry, and College ministry throughout my time in undergrad. Coming into college, I knew I wanted to do something in ministry for my career such as getting a job with a ministry that puts on conferences and camps for middle and high school students, but as I began to serve in the student ministry at Crosspoint, I began to realize that I didn't want to only get to pour into students for a week or less, only to say goodbye to them and possibly never see them again; I wanted to invest in students for the long term. This desire led me to realize that God was calling me to youth ministry within the church.

I knew about Generation LINK because of all the time I spent at Crosspoint. It was birthed at Crosspoint and I got to witness some of the early stages of the program. I knew it would be a great way for me to serve on a church staff, continue to invest in students, experience Biblical community, and begin my theological training in seminary.

Which location and what areas of ministry do you serve with through Generation LINK?

I serve at Crosspoint Church in Clemson, SC. I primarily serve in student ministry, especially with the middle school-aged students. I also have a hand in college ministry as I co-lead a small group of college students.

What are you most excited about in your area of ministry?

Being able to invest in students. Not only do I see them 1-2 times a week when we meet, but G-Link allows me time to pursue them outside of our youth meetings. Going to watch their football games, going to eat with them after a Sunday night meeting, inviting them over to watch a movie, playing them in racquetball, etc. These times have opened up opportunities to connect with them and be able to discuss spiritual things on a more personal level, and it's been awesome! I've actually known the current 8th graders since they were in 4th grade and have seen them grow spiritually, and it's definitely going to be difficult to leave them when God calls me somewhere else.

What 2-3 books have been most formative in your walk with Christ?

Questioning Evangelism by Randy Newman
Sticky Faith by Powell and Clark
Romans by God/Paul.

What are your favorite things to do in your free time?

I love playing Ultimate Frisbee, Volleyball, and Racquetball even though I don't get to play either as much as I did in undergrad unfortunately. I love just hanging out with friends during free time if possible; if I'm by myself, I like to watch tv shows (that have at least 3 seasons) on Netflix, Hulu, etc.

What is your typical coffee shop order?

I actually don't like coffee...which can be unfortunate at times. If I do go to Starbucks with others (and actually get anything), I usually get the Strawberries & Creme frappuccino. 

By: Josh Dorrity

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Here's My YES!

As Valentine’s Day approaches every year I get excited. I have an incredible wife of eight years whom I love dearly. But, there is also another reason I get excited about February 14th. On this day in 2003 the Lord began a transforming work in me that I have a hard time even comprehending. On that day he got my “yes.”

As a young man, even as a Christian, I became discontented with the church and lost sight of the gospel. My heart grew cold and I persistently gave Jesus my “no.” I was entirely stiff-necked and unyielding. I set my mind to head in the opposite direction God was leading. I decided that I would fight against his wooing and drawing more than any man alive. I thought I was tough. I thought I was strong. But, he was always there….no matter where I went….seeking, wooing, and patiently waiting. The knowledge of his love was inescapable. But, I stumbled along for five long years. I tried to escape into drugs and other sinful pursuits which left me utterly miserable, empty, and powerless. Sin never delivers what it promises. I thought one day I would be too messed up and he would quit his pursuit of me. Luckily, he never gave up. He never quit.

Then, came Valentine’s Day and suddenly the thought of saying yes entered my mind. A close friend reminded me of the graciousness of our mighty God. And, I simply said yes. God turned my heart and I said YES! After church that Sunday I felt incredibly light and free. Jesus took all the heavy burden of the unconfessed sin I had built up over the past five years and threw it as far as the east is from the west. In an instant it was gone. I floated out of the church overwhelmed and completely enveloped in the awesome and abundant grace of God who never, ever abandons his own children to the awful, deadly power of sin. I thought my battle with sin was over….I did say yes…right?

I was na├»ve and had much to learn about the gospel. I had no idea the war that awaited me. Paul’s words are true in Romans 7:22, 23. “For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.” This is a war. No, I am serious this is a WAR. I carry the enemy with me everywhere I go because he is me. I have kept pressing on, only because of his grace and forgiveness, only because he died for me. I have won some battles and lost some. The one thing that remains constant is a relentless God who has promised my transformation through the gospel in the context of his church.   

I think about Isaiah seeing this incredible vision of the Lord on his throne, high, and lifted up (Isaiah 6). Maybe this was the first time Isaiah really began to understand the vastness of the gap between God’s majestic holiness and his own wretched sinfulness. We all say with him, “Woe is me!” Then, the Lord showed his mercy and grace to Isaiah. The seraphim touched his lips with the burning coal and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for” (Isaiah 6: 7).

At this point Isaiah probably felt light as air like I did eleven years ago. The power of the gospel triumphs over every single sin and frees the most dreadful of sinners. Grace super-abounds to those God has called out of darkness into marvelous light. God in his amazing grace declares us FORGIVEN based on the atoning work of Christ Jesus on the cross. How can we not rejoice? How can we not, then, proclaim his excellence? How can we not cry out with Isaiah, “Here am I send me?” His gospel made visible through his church is absolutely worth every single “yes.” This war all believers are engaged in is entirely worth the fight because he is worth it. He gave his life so that we might be free. My “yes” was only made possible by the death of God’s precious Son.

I am very grateful for the last year of serving Open Door through Generation-LINK. I am a different man today than I was a year ago. I am more equipped and ready to give my life for him and his church than ever before. I am ready and willing to go wherever he leads. There is no better place to invest my life than in his church. GLINK has provided me with the on the job training that has given me the confidence and faith in God that he can take a guy like me and use me to build his church.

So, who has your “yes” today? Whether you are wrestling with an issue of forgiveness, repentance, church commitment, missions, church planting, a ministry project, or whatever else he desires for you will you pray this prayer with me and just let God work out the details. I trust that he will.    

Lord Jesus, here is my “yes.” It is yours I don’t want it any longer. Please help me to give it to you every single day. When I take it back from you please graciously discipline me so it will return to its rightful owner. Please take it and do with it as you wish. You are worth it and I trust you. Wherever you lead I’ll go. I can do nothing else. My answer is YES!

Only by his grace,

Paul Whitfield

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Meet the Team: Marie Cudd

This post is part of a series called "Meet the Team" introducing you to our Generation LINK staff. We hope it will help you get to know Generation LINK staff members serving around the country a little better. 

Where did you graduate from and what did you study?
I graduated from Clemson University in May 2012 with a BA in Philosophy (emphasis in Religious Studies) and Psychology.

What led you to do Generation LINK?
During my senior year of college, I was in Jenna Wayment’s CP Group and she encouraged me to pursue it as an option! I intended to go on to gain a Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling starting August 2012. However, Generation LINK quickly seemed like a great opportunity to grow and be equipped to be a better “disciple-maker for life” - to gain ministry experience, leadership development, theological training, discipleship and community in the context of the local church! Needless to say it was a great decision! I’m so glad the Lord has led me to Generation LINK. I have learned so much about the Great Commission and church planting, and feel I am better prepared to go on to obtain a degree in Biblical Counseling and to make disciples because of my experience with my two years on Generation LINK.

Which location and what areas of ministry do you serve with through Generation LINK?
I serve at Crosspoint Church in Clemson, SC. I primarily serve in the area of College Ministry but also provide some service to the Mercy Ministry.

What are you most excited about in your area of ministry?
I am most excited about discipleship with college girls! I have a strong passion for evangelism! I love instilling into young women their need to know the Word and what it means to have a strictly Christian worldview, guided by the inerrant Word of God, not man – and then from there, to teach them how to view evangelism as a normative practice and disciple-making as synonymous with being a Christian.

What 2-3 books have been most formative in your walk with Christ?
  • The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions edited by Arthur G. Bennett
  • Slave by John F. MacArthur
  • The MacArthur Study Bible edited by John F. MacArthur

What are your favorite things to do in your free time?
Hang out with college girls, go on walks with people in the Botanical Gardens, watch sunsets, study theology and (presuppositional) apologetics, read, and skype my nephew Phoenix.

What is your typical coffee shop order?
Black coffee with a little sugar.

by Marie Cudd