Steve Harrell (center) served as a huddle leader at FCA Leadership Camp 2017 for high school students around the Midwest region
Disciples Making Disciples
Jesus' Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 leaves no doubt about the calling we have as believers, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
This is the strategy we have adopted here at Minnesota FCA - to equip coaches and athletes as Christ-centered leaders who use their influence to impact others for Christ. We want to see disciples making disciples.
Wisconsin native Steve Harrell entered his first year at the University of St. Thomas not knowing a single person. Harrell grew up in a Christian home and accepted Christ at a young age - only just beginning to understand the impact of what that would mean. Throughout his middle school years he was surrounded by a solid community and continued to grow in his faith. As high school came and went and college began, he found himself placing his identity in shallow friendships, relationships, football, and doing whatever it took to fit in and feel like he belonged. "It got to the point where I didn't recognize who I was anymore," Harrell recalls. This loneliness and emptiness was a cry from the depths of his heart - reminding him there is only One who satisfies: Jesus Christ.
Moving into his sophomore and junior year, Harrell began to experience the full joy of Christ for the first time. The decision he made as a child began to take on a deeper meaning. He began to understand and really know what it means to follow Christ - digging into the Word, having a relationship with Him, and living for Him!
As many of us can attest to, old habits die hard, especially without the support of surrounding community. It was during Harrell's junior year fellow teammate, Matt O'Connell (and other mentors from FCA), began to intentionally pour into him - meeting with him weekly. Because of this, Harrell experienced new depths in his relationship with Christ and a renewed desire to continue to grow. He was encouraged by his mentors to step out in leadership with FCA.
Harrell is currently in his senior year at St. Thomas, a leader on and off the football field. Because a fellow teammate saw Harrell's struggle and desire to grow and chose to invest in him, Harrell is now a student leader with the St. Thomas huddle. He also leads a bible study for the football team along with his teammate, Matt Christianson. But most importantly, O'Connell's investment has had a profound impact on Harrell's identity, "I replaced those old identities with my one and only identity as a child of Christ. This has led me to live a more Gospel-centered life and lead others towards Him."
Steve Harrell is just one of many examples of disciple-making happening before our very eyes in schools and colleges across the state of Minnesota. Can you imagine the ripple effect if every single student was being discipled by a fellow student and they, in turn, began to disciple another student and so on and so forth? Relationships forming, students growing and empowering each other to live for Christ...imagine the transformation that would take place on that campus, in that community, and across the state! All for the name of Jesus Christ.
Harrell and O'Connell continue their weekly meetings to this day. As Harrell puts it, "I hope to continue to help lead others to Christ as well as continue to grow in my own faith; building an accountable community and growing deeper rather than wider on campus."
Posted on Mon, December 4, 2017
by Emily Werness