Christ and Community: The Secret to Living a Countercultural Life

Christ and Community: The Secret to Living a Countercultural Life


By Ben Patella

 

Serving as our College Ministry Director and leading in our Young Adult connection group at Faith affords me the wonderful opportunity to meet and interact with the next generation of faithful believers in our church. In this blog, it is my privilege to share the passion and authenticity of one of our faithful young adults actively pursuing Jesus in life. Elizabeth Probasco is a director in our Young Adult connector group and serves in our College Ministry as a mentor and Hospitality Director. The rest of this blog is Elizabeth’s own writing about living a countercultural, Jesus-centered life as a young adult in Fort Collins. - Ben Patella




I’m 27. I have a lot of things on my mind - my job, family, friends and church. One thing that doesn’t get a lot of airtime in my head is death. Not surprising, I suppose; I’m still young, and death feels pretty distant. But when I do think about the eventual end of my life, I think about questions like these: how can I live a truly successful and meaningful life? What if, on my deathbed, I look back and realize that I missed the point--that I misspent the one life I had? What can I do to make sure that my last words aren’t a deep sigh of regret that says “If only I could do it over again…”?

Fun questions, right? Yikes. Most of us have been conditioned to hate slowing down to reflect on the eventual outcome of our way of life. Instead, we are constantly bombarded with loud, flashy messages on how to live a life that matters. Our culture idolizes youth, materialism and achievement, always screaming, “YOU NEED MORE TO BE HAPPY!” Bigger house, hotter spouse, faster car, further travel, higher rung on the ladder, trimmer body, fewer wrinkles - it’s all about me. Our culture says to take all our time and all our money and use it for whatever makes us the happiest. As young adults, we often hear, “You’re young; take time for you.” “Follow your heart.” “Do what feels good.” We’re constantly told that this time of our lives is for us and about us. At the end of the day, don’t these things we’re pushed to treasure just leave us kind of, well, empty?

I’m not alone in examining these questions during this stage of my life. Many young adults are asking similar questions, and I’m glad. We need to ask these good, honest questions because where we aim our lives today will have a huge impact on where our lives land in the end. This is a time to lean into our faith as believers in Jesus and find true answers. I’m convinced that living a countercultural life that matters requires deep grounding in two things: Christ and Community.

First, we have to be rooted in Christ. In Ephesians 3:17-19, Paul tells the Ephesian church that he prays “that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have the strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” That’s what we’re really seeking with all our searching and materialism, isn’t it? This passage promises that in Christ, that fullness of satisfaction is a reality for us, not just in a hypothetical or abstract way but in real, everyday life.

And secondly, if we’re going to answer Jesus’ call to live our young adult years differently, we have to be rooted in community. Culture tends to glorify those who are independent and self-made; needing other people is weak, we’re told. Yet, the call in the book of Hebrews is to embrace community: “Let us consider how to stir one another up to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb. 10: 24-25). These verses speak to how much we need each other as we seek to live as disciples of Jesus. It’s hard to keep loving and serving others instead of ourselves. It’s hard to say no to materialism and self-centered living. We need each other to walk the good, hard, narrow way that leads to abundant life.

I began helping to build a community of young adults here at Faith about a year ago because I’m passionate about seeing a community of young adults living lives that matter. I’m excited because I’ve caught a vision for what Jesus could do through a group of people who are captivated by the beauty of who he is and who want to share that with others. I want to see a community that knows each other deeply - wounds, weaknesses, strengths, joys, temptations, stresses - and yet loves and delights in one another.

What if there was a generation of young people at Faith who saw Jesus as the ultimate Treasure in life? What if we were so grounded in the love of God that nothing we faced could destroy our confidence in our eternal acceptance in his eyes? What if we leveraged everything we’ve been given - time, money, living space, talents, ideas, inherent advantages based on socioeconomic status - not to make our lives easier or more enjoyable but to serve those around us in Jesus’ name? We need each other to see this vision come true.

What if revival came to my generation and Fort Collins was never the same again?
 

 

 



Ben has been a member at Faith for six years. Two years ago, he transitioned from a career in electrical engineering to full-time ministry as Faith’s College Ministry Director. Ben is passionate about teaching the Bible, developing young leaders and discipling college-aged young adults.

Outside of ministry, Ben loves spending time with his wife, Sally, and their 3 boys.  He enjoys all outdoor activities including running, camping, skiing and hiking.



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