Tucker Anderson’s Amazing Story – Main Event 2017

August 27, 2017

This is a powerful and relevant message for any student stuck in negative lifestyle choices.

This past summer, we were so excited to have Tucker Anderson share his powerful story of survival and total life change at the Main Event. You will love this young man’s love for Christ.

 

We are so thankful for our 707 leaders!

August 18, 2017

Just a few of the MANY faces of our 707 leaders. We are so thankful for these mentors who invest into the lives of students for 7 YEARS!

Just a few of the MANY faces of our 707 leaders. We are so thankful for these mentors who invest into the lives of students for 7 YEARS!

Plot Twist: How The GP Fellowship Impacted One Young Leader

August 16, 2017

I could say I knew what I was walking into…

I could say I had it all worked out in my mind, a detailed description of events from the first minute to the very last. I could label it, “Jack’s Gap Year Plan” and walk forward in pride thinking that what I had just done was of my own doing and in my control. Nor was it a stroke of serendipity either. God did it all. From planting seeds, to watching me grow, it was all Him.

I didn’t know what my gap year was going to be like. I knew where I was going, and some vague details of the internship I was going to be doing. I knew that The Gathering Place was a Christian youth ministry in Brunswick, Georgia, but I had yet to meet anyone in person. I knew what I needed to know, but not much more. In order to begin my journey, I had to take a blind step. A step of faith. One that I could not take on my own, but could only accomplish by trusting God’s guiding hand. Little did I know then that this was just one step in what would be a year long journey of walking in faith.

Let’s take a quick step back. I was a sophomore in high school when the idea of a gap year came to the thoughtful minds of my parents. At that point in time, I wasn’t displaying the amount of responsibility and effort in my life that I should have been. Although my parents never questioned my intellectual ability to do well in my first year of college, they questioned my drive to do so. In the same year, while vacationing to St Simons Island, Georgia, I met a man named Bill Walker. Mr. Walker happened to be the founder of this Christian youth ministry called The Gathering Place, known commonly as, “The GP.” He eagerly explained the ministry to me, as well as its opportunities for people my age. I thought it was interesting, but again, sophomore year, little drive. I was in a place where I didn’t think I would be good enough to participate in anything like ministry.

Fast forward now to my senior year in high school and I had matured past my previous struggles. I knew I could handle college, and handle it very well. Any thoughts of a gap year or The GP had gone with the wind, right out the back window of this new car I was driving called Jack’s Plan. I had my eyes fixed on Baylor, my degree, my masters, my high paying job, my absolutely….ordinary life.

Plot twist.

God had a different idea for my life, and it was everything but ordinary.

I had rededicated my life to Christ five years ago, and He had been working in me every day since. I was at a crucial point in my relationship with Him, and He made it clear that what I needed right away wasn’t college, but more of Him. What followed would turn out to be the most formative year of my life so far.

In what I can only really describe as, “a God thing,” I found myself joining The Gathering Place’s summer college intern team the moment I finished high school. The best way I can describe the college internship is that it was a multifaceted experience that encapsulated intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth. I was impressed with how well rounded the program was, as no one method brought me all of this growth. I was taught. I practiced. I read. I listened. I lead. I thought. I succeeded, and I failed. Sometimes it was easy; most times it was not. I cried. I hoped. I trusted. I bonded. Most importantly, I lived it, when I could have been somewhere else.

My intellectual growth mainly came through being taught by various teachers and leaders. I was exposed to an incredible amount of biblical truth and theological studies, further deepening my understanding of Christ and His Kingdom. My emotional growth came mainly from our college intern team-building exercises. Though they sound fun, these activities mostly never were. They were typically full of stress, hurt and brutal honesty. However, it was from these times that I learned how to communicate my emotions and thoughts effectively, understand others’ thoughts and emotions, and resolve conflict. Though I value every way that I grew during the summer, my biggest and most important gain was in my relationship with Jesus. Nothing was prioritized more by The Gathering Place than my relationship with God, and I certainly saw the fruits of that. I have come to know God so much more as I have put my identity in Him, my dependance on Him and have given my all to Him!

Though it seems like that would’ve filled up my time, the summer internship was balanced so that I was pouring out to others as much as I was being poured into. With my mind on the brink of explosion, in came the other half of my summer days, mentoring and leading The GP’s high school interns. I helped lead sophomore boys in their walks with Christ as well as being an impactful and positive role model in their lives. Through doing this, I was able to grow in my leadership skills and gain a new perspective on what Christ-centered servant leadership looks like.

In addition to my weekly activities, every Sunday night during the summer, the college and high school interns put on an event called, “The Main Event”. This is a massive event for middle and high school students to worship God and grow in their faith through amazing speakers. This event would draw over one thousand kids every Sunday and by the end of the summer, we had records of five hundred and fifty kids who accepted Christ in their lives! I learned that through my willingness to serve, God can do things that consistently blows my expectations away.

Yes, my summer was exhausting in every way, shape or form, but I am appreciative of that. I was more or less always kept in a place of discomfort. Whether it was physically — don’t get me started on Georgia’s humidity— or spiritually, I was always being pushed and stretched out of my comfort zone. I truly believe that this is why God was able to move in me so much this past year. I also appreciate the fact that I had to live out what I was learning every day, so I had no opportunity to be fake, or fake anything I was doing.

Though I grew a lot during the summer, there was still a lot more to be learned as I transitioned into my Fellowship with The Gathering Place. The Fellowship is a more staff-like internship, and is what I did between August of 2016 and July of 2017. GP Fellows are assigned a specific staff person to be their direct report and mentor for the year. For me, that was Gathering Place executive director Lucas Ramirez. Throughout the year, I have worked with Lucas, as well as the rest of GP Staff, on various tasks, projects and events. 

Some of these things include: running social media sites for The GP and Lucas’s book, forming websites and mass mailing templates, managing a database transfer, managing the new database, training the entire staff on the efficient usage of our new database, large event planning, large event participation, programs planning, editing important letters and documents, implementing efficient methods to intertwine our website and data acquisition, and interfacing with key donors. Overall, working at The Gathering Place as a Fellow was a largely different experience than the summer college internship. I worked much more behind the scenes and worked in what I like to call, “the other side of ministry.” Experiencing this really opened my eyes to the fact that a well run non-profit ministry is essentially the same as a well run business. This is one of the reasons why God really put a passion in my heart this year for serving him in ministry. I learned that it can be the best of both worlds: living a life that is all about God, while engaging my talents in real and relevant ways!

Working with, being mentored by, and befriending Lucas will forever be one of the greatest highlights of my life. Not only did he teach me a lot about living a Christ centered life, but he also got me through some difficult times. During my gap year, my Grandpa, who I was very close with, passed away. Lucas showed me what it meant to be a true leader by guiding me through tough times, not just good ones. There were also a few times during the year when I dropped the ball, and though he was corrective, Lucas was always gracious.

One of the ways that I grew during the year was through a time called, “Ministry Skills.” A staff member, Madhur Dey, led the Fellows in understanding more about ourselves, God and Christian community, specifically how all three interact and intertwine. During this time I became even more self aware. I learned more about who I am as a person, who I am in my relationships, and who I am in Christ. I know that above all else, my identity is in Christ, and because of this my view on my purpose in life has changed completely!

Not only have I grown in my understanding of myself, but I have also grown up. Through my experiences with leadership development, team building, and ministry work, I have gained a lot of responsibility and self-reliance. I don’t need my parents to do life for me and I have gained a lot of self-confidence because of that.

To wrap up my gap year, I am currently part time with The GP as a Fellow, and part time at MAP International as a marketing intern. MAP International is a Christian organization providing life-changing medicines and health supplies to people in need. They are one of the world’s largest charities to distribute medical aid for those working in medical missions all across the world. Working at MAP has a much more corporate feel than The GP, and it is giving me a whole new set of insights and skills.

Needless to say, I feel like taking this gap year was one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. So what if it was unconventional? So what if it was a gap from formal education? This past year was full of life, and life worth living. Not only that, but I feel more prepared for Baylor than I ever could have previously. I’m no longer attending Baylor just to see what I can get out of it, I’m going with a mission to make a difference for Christ. Though I’m leaving The Gathering Place, God is with me wherever I go, and so is my ministry.

Jack Pflug
GP Fellow 2017

Main Event Week 2 Highlights – June 11th, 2017

June 15, 2017

It was so awesome to have SHEP back for Main Event Week #2! Join us next week for Social Club!!

The Main Event is FREE for Middle and High School students!

 

Main Event Week 1 Highlights – June 4th, 2017

June 13, 2017

We had an epic launch to our 2017 Main Event Season!

Join us on Sunday nights at Epworth By The Sea: 7:00pm Pre Event // 8:00pm Main Event!