FirstLife Blog

Testimony of Thanks

Posted by Rachel Bell on with 1 Comments

Jordan Humler is a learner. He got his start at First Baptist through a partnered Spring Break mission trip with the Baptist Collegiate Ministry on UT’s campus in 2014. There, he met Scott Claybrook, who invited him to invest in the growing university ministry at First Baptist. Within a few months, he found his place among us and has been here ever since.

Jordan's first  mission trip with First Baptist through the BCM to McCallan, TX

He has interned with us for the past three years, and he has proactively made himself available to every possible learning experience. Because of this relentless passion for learning, he has grown into a mature man of faith who is ready to take on his next adventures in life: marriage and seminary. 

As we send him out, he’d like to share how he has grown since 2014 and extend a testimony of thanks.

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“I came to First Baptist when I was 18, and I’m leaving at almost 22. There’s a lot of growing up you do in that time period. I don’t think any 18 year old boy is ready for anything in life. They’re barely even ready to start college. Maybe they are academically ready, but socially they’re really immature, and I was just as much so as any 18 year old I’ve ever met.

So, First Baptist challenged me to grow up. My first year, Scott met with me once a week for breakfast to talk about life and hard topics. He encouraged me to expand my view of faith and how God interacts with people. Overall, he challenged me to be an adult – to leave childish things behind, start making better decisions, and do more than I thought I could.

The more I look at college ministry and college students, the biggest faith jump seems to be between that sophomore and junior year. You’ve been making your own faith for two years, and you’ve decided you’re going to do something about it. We always asked people: 'Are you willing to give up a summer for Christ.' And usually, that summer in between is when they are most likely to say yes. In the Freshman summer, you want to go home to your parents. The sophomore summer, you want to run for the hills. But you can’t get an internship in your career area, so it’s the natural time to work at a camp or mission trip. That’s exactly how it happened for me and for my fiancé, Tori.

The summer of my sophomore year, this church sent me to Alaska, and Tori worked at a Christian summer camp. Tori and I had just started dating before we left on our trips, and we were both challenged in our faith. Our conversations changed and were much more serious and focused on long-term plans. Christ became the center of our relationship, and we got the opportunity to grow away from the congregation. While I was doing good gospel work, it was outside of the community I felt at home with. I realized how much I longed to be back here and how much I enjoyed First Baptist Knoxville and what they were doing.

So, I came back on fire for Christ in a way I’d never felt before, but also with a passion to recruit for First Baptist like never before. At that time we were a really small college ministry. By the end of my junior year, we had quintupled in size. We had gone from four or five to averaging 20 in small group and 30 to 40 in Sunday school. When people visited, they recognized it as a place that would challenge them to think differently and grow differently. At the same time, I started interning with Ben Winder and working with the youth group. There, I had to be mature and set rules and boundaries, yet I also had to love well and love others toward Christ.

So the whole process of growing with Tori in our relationship, watching growth happen in the college ministry, and watching these teenagers start to grow up, challenged me to live more into my faith and grow as I was expecting them to grow. As a whole it made me more confident with who I am, but with less pride associated with it. I realized it wasn’t how much I had done, but how much the people around me with Christ in them had done. Christ in me changed me and gave me a much more humble view of my growth instead of the mindset that ‘I did this through my willpower.’

Beyond that, First Baptist challenged me to think about things that made me uncomfortable at the time: things like the role of women in the church or what it looked like to be open to all people. It challenged me enough that I could not stand still in my faith. I became dissatisfied with the answers I’d been given before coming here. And I interned here for so long that First Baptist gave me opportunities to see lots of different aspects of ministry. As I sent my resume to different churches in Texas and talked with recruiters at Truett, they said I had more work experience than they had seen for most my age, because I stuck around and was willing to learn. And that’s great. I was willing to stick around, but it was nice to have a place that was willing to let me stick around.

Tori and I are getting married on July 1st and we’re leaving for Texas at the end of that month. I’m looking forward to us getting married. We’ve been able to grow so much in the last two years through dating that I’m excited to see what that looks like in the role of marriage, which is so important. It’s probably one of the most important things we do in our walks as believers outside of starting our family and pointing them towards Christ.

As we leave I want to say thank you. First Baptist was my family when my family didn’t live in Tennessee. On the best days of my life, First Baptist supported me. On my hardest days, you’ve loved me. You believed in me when I didn’t think I was worth believing in. You stood beside me when I screwed up and when I succeeded. It’s been amazing to watch this place nurture me towards adulthood and towards Christ. Thank you.”

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Jordan will be a full-time student at Truett Seminary and has begun conversations with churches in need of youth pastors. Tori is currently looking for full-time teaching positions. We are glad to have been able to mentor this young couple and help them cultivate hearts for Christ. They are a product of our desire to be a Thinking and Teaching church – one that prepares and sends out young people to impact the world.

 

Comments

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Lanita.and John Rorrer. Jun 23, 2017 6:30am

Here is our new address it.is1421north.central street.Knoxville tn.37917.

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