By: Jerrod Baker
I started going to the Wesley Foundation in early February. When I started going I had fully intended on simply going to the Sunday services and be a part of the congregation. I did not want to volunteer and get involved in a lot of things. I simply wanted to show up, hear what Rev. Michael [Executive Director] had to say, and be able to leave without any responsibility. These intentions were caused by my past experiences from my home church.
I grew up in the church. My family attended every Sunday and I was an active member of my Sunday School class/ youth group. In the fifth grade my loving father took it upon himself to become the caretaker of the outside of the church. This included all of the lawn work and other “projects” that needed to be completed outside the doors of the church. By “took it upon himself,” I meant “took it upon ourselves.” In the fifth grade, I began doing lawn care for my church. My father told me to look at it as my form of tithing since I did not have a job/income. Although I hated the labor, I kept what he said in mind and kept doing my job.
Later down the road I wound up getting put in charge of the sound/projector for our worship services, I helped run VBS, and helped run the youth group. During my sophomore year of high school, I was asked to join the praise band and play percussion instruments. By junior year, my brother had graduated and left, leaving a lead singer spot open. Of course, I got bumped up (despite my lack of skill in singing). Towards the end of my junior year, I was helping lead the youth group, helping lead worship, helping out with sound, and caretaker of the lawn/property.
Due to certain events at the church I decided to leave and seek a new church that I would enjoy more right before my junior year of high school was through. It was a tough time and I realized I was free. I was free from all of my “duties” at my previous church. I no longer had to be concerned about all of the things I previously had to. I simply attended this church and joined the youth group. It was nice. That is why I did not want to be that involved at the Wesley.
The first month went well. I really enjoyed myself and I loved Michael’s preaching. Then by the time Lent came around, Janina [Coordinator of Student Ministry] brought up the idea of doing a fast every Tuesday during Lent. I thought it was interesting and I had always wanted to try fasting from food. I believe I made it to all of the meetings and I had a pretty awesome experience doing it. During the time, I got to talk to Janina and I immediately knew what I was doing. I was opening the door to get even more involved here. I made an effort to not get too involved for the rest of the semester and I succeeded. It was pretty clear to me that God wanted me to be more involved, but I simply said “No.”
At the beginning of this semester, I got a message from Janina asking if I could meet up with her and discuss something. Nervously I said “yes” and picked a day to meet. At the meeting, she asked me if I would be interested in starting and leading a Men’s Group here at the Wesley. I have no experience doing something like this so I seemed somewhat skeptical, but after some convincing from her and Michael, I decided to say “yes.” The process of getting that started has been one heck of an adventure, but I will tell that some other time. I then spiraled into volunteering left and right. I was asked if I could help get some people together to bake cookies for a prison ministry. “Yes.” I was asked if I would like to go on a mission trip to D.C. in December. “Yes.” I was given the opportunity to go with Michael to Boston Avenue in Tulsa with a “small group.” “Yes” (Including Michael, there were four of us). I was asked if I would like to do a blog post. “Yes.” I was asked if I could help out for homecoming. “Yes.” As you can see from the amount of times I said “yes” in this paragraph, I decided to do what God wanted me to do and I got involved. As I was thinking about what to write about I thought about how Jonah was. Jonah knew what God wanted but he decided to say “No” and take off to Tarshish rather than Nineveh. Eventually, God got Jonah to turn around and he succeed at what he was called to do.
After doing what I have done this semester at the Wesley, I have no regrets. It was difficult at times, but it was extremely rewarding. I knew I was doing what God wanted me to do. By saying “yes,” I have helped start up a Men’s Group, I have learned how to make some pretty rad peanut butter cookies, I am set up for going to Washington D.C. on a mission trip, I got to spend a lot of time in a car with Michael and hear some of his incredible stories (if you haven’t spent time with that man, schedule a time to have him take you out to lunch. He has some of the most amazing stories to tell. He also is not cheap, so expect great food!), and I have now almost finished a blog post.
Sometimes, when you feel God calling you to do something, all you have to do is say “yes,” despite what you feel like doing, and He will take care of you. In the midst of my classes and work, I have been able to do some extremely memorable things and I would not trade these experiences for anything. I encourage you to say “yes” to God and experience what He has in store for you.