when work and play collide

I look forward to going to work every day. Granted, going to work often looks like taking my laptop to a coffeeshop to return emails, write a talk or prepare for meetings. But on the wonderful days I get to go to meetings I’m able to work with colleagues I love and respect and do work that brings my life joy, excitement and purpose.

Recently I got to train a bunch of noobs with InterVarsity- 25 first & second year staff eager to help students meet Jesus, work to renew the campus and participate in God’s work of developing world changers. It really is one of my favorite parts of my job-not only because what I teach and train them gets multiplied back on each of their campus but because new staff say things like: “I can’t believe this is my job! I get paid to help students discover Jesus! ” Going into my 11th year with InterVarsity, like anything you’ve done for awhile, it can be easy to take things for granted. Like the fact that I can take my kids with me to work conferences. Or that the organization I work for is invested in me becoming a better leader and follower of Jesus. Or that there are hundreds of people who pray for our work and give sacrificially. Or that I get to see students lives changed on a regular basis. Or that I can take a Tuesday morning off to eat pancakes with my family because my work schedule is so flexible.

reuben & my colleagues kids enjoying some cupcakes at a staff conference.

Training the noobs reminded me of when I went through new staff training.  I remember feeling nervous and intimidated. For one, everyone was taller than me. That isn’t saying much because I’m only 5’4″ and everyone is usually taller than me. But for some reason, that was what intimidated me at the time.  Regardless, I sat down at the table, covered in pages of Ephesians manuscripts for bible study, packets of colored pencils scattered for us to use, I brought my a-game, wanting to seem competent, make really insightful comments, and catch on quickly to the training we were receiving.  The thing I didn’t expect was that the people in that room would become some of my closest friends over the next 10 years.

some of the new staff I got to spend time with- so fun! so teachable!

When Chris, a new staff stayed with us during fund development training a year ago, he asked “what are some of the things you’ve enjoyed about being on staff?” I saw Chris at the new staff training and as we were stirring non-dairy creamer into yet another cup of coffee he reminded me of my answer to his question; “I’ve enjoyed that when I go to work, I get to work with friends.”

with our friend Jeff Liou- we both came on staff in 2001 though now he's getting his PhD. Happily, we got to spend time with him recently when he spoke at an InterVarsity conference for Asian American students.

I’m hoping that not only will these new staff experience the transforming love of Jesus in their own lives and the lives of their students, but that they’ll look back years from now and realize that friendships were forged during new staff training between intense bible studies, vulnerable prayer times, and being drawn together into a bigger vision of what God has for the campus.


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