A few weeks ago I wrote a post “Planting is Like Learning to Swim” and I detailed some of our struggles with Greek Ministry at USC. Well just last week we had a breakthrough. Here is a write up of a fabulous conversion story from one of the interns who works with me, Jon Wong.
“Yeah, I’m actually trying to reconnect with God. But I got to go right now.”
We met Adam while passing out flyers for Greek InterVarsity – he was one of those guys who grabbed a flyer and then disappeared, just another Greek amongst the crowd flowing by our table. He gave his phone number and biked off.
Two weeks later, we met up for coffee and I asked him his spiritual background. He explained he didn’t really ascribe to any religious denomination, characterized himself as a Neo-Christian Existentialist, but said he was interested in reconnecting with God/higher power for guidance. He was thoughtful, self-aware, authentic, philosophical – and your epitome of a frat bro. God had answered prayers in his life before – getting him out of a certain DUI on the drive back from Chico – and he had felt close to God in high school; but college and the fraternity life of drugs, sex, and alcohol had consumed him for the past three years and drawn him away from faith. I told him about Greek IV and encouraged him not to search alone and to keep seeking answers in community. He was excited about the prospect of talking to other Greeks who could understand his Greek experience and also talk about faith.
He couldn’t make it to our next few meetings and it seemed like he might never show up. But almost three weeks later, we finally met up again. God was still clearly pursuing this guy, because Adam was still as curious as before about learning about God, finding guidance from God, talking to other Greeks about God. He told me that he had gone around his house, FIJI, telling his brothers about this new group on campus, Greek InterVarsity, and asking if anyone wanted to talk about spirituality!! We were having trouble finding Greek Christians at USC who wanted to talk about God with their brothers and sisters, and here was this guy who wasn’t following Jesus going and talking to all his friends about it. Clearly, something powerful was stirring in and around this guy.
Fast forward to the next week. We’re at our Greek IV core meeting studying the parable of the paralyzed man from Mark 2. As we’re sharing what’s connecting with us, Adam, as frank as ever, volunteered that he’s connecting with the line about Jesus forgiving our sins. He said he needs some guidance from Jesus about all the things that are going on in his life and vulnerably admitted that he needs some sort of comfort from all the confusion. He stayed after to share what was going on with his relationships – a pattern of going from woman to woman seeking meaningful relationship – and agreed to meet up again in a couple of days to talk more.
Back at Starbucks two days later, we’re going through John 4, the story of the woman at the well, and Adam was shaking his head in amazement, saying he saw how all these events in the past month just lined up, and that God was trying to get his attention then and now. When asked whether he wanted to trade his source of life, women and relationships, for Jesus, the only source of true and lasting fulfillment and relationship, Adam paused. He wrestled with whether that would mean giving up his relationship now; he shared that he was hesitant because he doesn’t know what following Jesus would look like practically. But when Beau challenged and invited him to first get right with God personally, to seek relationship with Jesus above all, and to trust fully that Jesus would lead him through the rest of the areas in his life, Adam responded, “Definitely. I want that.”
The best part is this. Beau explained how Jesus died on the cross to bear our sins and to bring us into new life, and Adam said, “That makes so much sense, I’ve never heard it explained that way!” After praying to accept Jesus as his Savior and Lord, Adam couldn’t contain his next thoughts. He said he had to talk to his agnostic best friend about Jesus. He said he wanted to share his story next week at Greek IV, and hoped it would encourage other people who didn’t know Jesus. He said we, as Greek IV, needed to figure out how to get more people like him, spiritually curious Greeks, into the room. Just like the woman at the well, Adam not only encountered God personally, but couldn’t contain the newfound joy he felt upon inviting Jesus into his life! God is seriously moving in this brother’s life!
Praise God for what he’s doing at USC – putting Adam and Greek IV on a collision course that has life-changing implications for Adam and every Greek student around him. May this be the beginning of a revival at USC in the Greek system!