It feels like a mere moment ago the Fellows were settling onto Impact 360’s campus. We moved into our dorms, adjusted to student life, and soon, this place resembled a new kind of home. Here we are, nine months later, preparing to leave this home for a new one.
As with most life transitions, the thought of commissioning is bittersweet. I (Meiley) find myself grieving the loss of proximity to those I love. The Fellows program has gifted me with a community like no other. This is the common mantra of alumni. Those who have experienced the program echo over and over their delight in the community at Impact 360. While these sweet faces will remain dear to my heart, Impact 360 Fellows was not created to merely cultivate a sweet community; the program was fashioned to challenge and disciple young believers to be leaders for God’s Kingdom. This is the goal: Fellows is a launchpad into the work God has entrusted to His people. This is why we at Impact 360 deem the end of the year a “commissioning” rather than a “graduation.” Though the students are growing into a new season of life, they are being sent out to the world with a purpose and for a purpose. The Fellows program inspires and equips students to go and make disciples, glorify the Lord, and make His name known across the nations.
In addition to community, the Fellows program has left me with an abundance of other good gifts. Firstly, I’ve learned that loving the Lord is more than action—it includes loving Him with my mind and my heart. Reading books on spiritual formation has challenged me to ponder the ways of God. In the middle of wonder, I have had spaces like Academy (a Socratic seminar on Thursdays) to ask honest questions about God and His good ways. Secondly, I am leaving with a greater love for God’s Word and methods of studying it. These things are deeply formative and valuable, but the most impactful truth I have learned this year is that I am an utterly dependent creature—and this is not a weakness.
Understanding my dependence has allowed me to step into faithfulness without fear of failure. The Fellows program has presented many opportunities to push me out of my comfort zone. Previously, I would have cowered at the thought of leading worship in front of my peers, creating and leading a Bible study, or having spiritual conversations. This was because I had an inaccurate view of God’s grace! These two things may seem unrelated, but if I do not understand that I am truly powerless and dependent on God for my strength, I will buckle under the weight of perfectionism. This is why the gospel is so powerful. In our need, God is strong, steadfast, just, and gracious. I am leaving Fellows empowered to lead not because of the rhythms I have picked up, or the knowledge I’ve acquired, but because of the continual opportunities I’ve been given to trust the Lord’s work in me. Only by His hand am I equipped. Only by His hand am I forgiven. He has called me worthy, and it’s only because of the gospel and God’s work in me that I can lead with humility and strength.
Before Impact 360, my life was marked by striving. Now, I trust I am marked by the blood of Jesus, and therefore I can live without fear of failure and lead courageously for the Kingdom.