Today's Guest Blog is from our friend Sam Butterfield, the Participant President for Teach First. He's got some honest thoughts about actually acting like we believe we have the power of God in us, and how he's struggled to see this displayed in church... can we tell a different story?
“I back myself” became a tongue in cheek catchphrase for me last year. A sort of acknowledgement between me and my friends that I can be, and often am, an arrogant little so and so.
It’s also fair to say I have a mixed up relationship with church.
I hate doing things half-heartedly so when it comes to church you’ll either find me trying to drive it forward or not wanting to touch it with a barge pole.
While I was a student at York, Luke Smith was one of the guys who I used to look up to as something of a mentor. I got the chance to catch up with Luke the other week and we sat by the river Ouse and chatted about the things that had been up to over the last two years. We chatted about our hopes and dreams and things we were involved in. I shared the work I do in Uganda, a project that I led on this year and was all set up by a friend of mine when he was at university, something I didn’t have the initiative or guts to do. It now changes the lives of thousands of young people a year.
It struck me that most of the risks I have taken in life, my highest moments and my boldest decisions were all made at a time when I was out of church and honestly probably wouldn’t have defined myself as a Christian. In fact the most radical people I know, the fearless ones, the ones who will change the world are also, mostly, not in a church. As we chatted, it struck me that this was my biggest frustration with church. If we actually believe all of this stuff: why don’t we take more chances, why don’t we dream more? Risk more?
I don’t pretend to fully understand the bible, but the bits that I do are pretty radical. Every time I travel it never ceases to amaze me just what you can achieve in the developing world when you go for it. Imagine what would happen if students really risked it, really believed in themselves. Some already do.
Imagine if the church was known for being at the forefront of this. It wouldn’t take much, just a few of us to go first.
It is a bit risky though…
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”- Theodore Roosevelt.