Where I’ve been & Where I’m going.

TEXAS-FLAG-LONE-STAR-STATE-1024x698

 

Where I’ve been:

Ya know, I like to think I’m just the same ole Devon I’ve been for years. And in many aspects of my life and passions I really just haven’t changed a whole lot. Since 2006 I’ve regarded Dave Matthews Band to be the best band on the planet. Since 2001 I’ve considered The Lord of the Rings to be the best movie I’ve ever seen. Since the days of Barney I’ve loved film. Since the days of the Backstreet Boys I’ve loved music. Since those bedtime stories of long ago about Lions and Witches and Wardrobes I have loved stories. But in this story that involves me, Devon Bailey, change has happened. Things have shaped me and God has pulled me along for many unexpected adventures. Maybe I’m not the same ole Devon.

When I started college I had one thing burnt into my mind (and expected from all those around me); I’m going to make movies. My parents funded my dreams. Bought me a camera. I made friends with a guy who made great films ALL THE TIME and I moved myself towards the very possible future of cinema. After all (for whatever shameful reason) my Myspace acount was linked as “Devonthemovieloser.” I was the movie guy. And while I still am the movie guy my future may be shining a different light. Through a crazy tale of coincidences and circumstances I found myself becoming something I said I wouldn’t be: a Young Life leader. In high school I was profoundly impacted and influenced by (for an extreme lack of better words) a Christian youth group. College students were there in my life to talk to. They always had the best ideas for what to do when there was nothing else to do. “Let’s go play golf with a tennis ball” they would say. “Let’s go trick the female leaders into thinking we just ran from the cops” they would say. Now it was my turn to have a go at those shoes.

When I was placed as a leader at a Middle School called Swift Creek I had an idea of what to expect. I just don’t think I had an idea of how much it would change my life. The single greatest joy I have ever had was showing up to a room full of kids, acting like an idiot, putting shaving cream in my hair, drinking blended taco bell, and teaching that room about Jesus. Watching so many of them finally understand. And walking alongside those trying to figure it out. Being a God centered leader towards children has a way of shaping you into an incredible human being. (I’ll say that of my peers rather than myself to avoid sounding egocentric). There’s just a special kind of accountability that you hold yourself to that shapes you into a person to be admired. While you remain far from perfect this accountability brings you into something close with the God who loves you. For me I was able to learn so much about the scriptures and myself. I had to fight through my weaknesses and strive for strength. It was a daily matter of picking up your cross. Some days I had my cross high above my head and others I left it behind me towards worse decisions. But that accountability and that deep desire for kids to know Jesus shaped me into a person I hadn’t been before.

It was around this time that I took my first Religion course in college. It was the semester prior to declaring my major and something about the course burned a strong interest in me. I was beginning to challenge all of my beliefs. Seeing not everyone saw the God experience the same way as I and I chased this. I read and read and read and discussed and discussed and discussed. I loved the theological debates and the times where people agreed with your theories or led you to believe theirs. It was a wonderful and stressful time of life. Wonderful because of how fascinating it all can be and stressful because it wasn’t always comfortable to challenge your long held spoon fed beliefs. Or when you run into people who viciously and passionately disagree with what you strongly believe to be truth. You start to ask hard questions about God. In my education and ministry I began to feel a very strong call towards something that wasn’t red carpets and popcorn eating fans. Ministry was on my heart. Instead of film I declared Religion as my major.

Religion to me is one of the easiest lenses into the people of this world. I felt as though I learned a lot about people all over the world. I learned a lot about Christianity and ways that we actually can talk about this topic when we disagree. I learned a lot about the Bible: some of it discomforting and some of it liberating. A different kind of door opened that allowed me to have discussions with all sorts of questions from all sorts of Christians. I loved leading people to answers and searching for my own.

I  have spent six years with Young Life and through this experience I have seen Jesus in some of the most real and tangible ways. I’ve met some incredible kids and families and leaders that have changed my life. I’ve felt a true calling and an eternal joy. I can look back with what I can only describe as a healthy pride. I’m proud of my years with young life. I feel blessed beyond measure for this experience and I plan to take it with me to the end of my days.

Where I’m going:

Perhaps the hardest part of what lies ahead is leaving the kids I met through Young Life. Not seeing them every week kills me. But I do believe I have great things ahead. I have something to be excited for and something to be challenged by. If you haven’t seen or heard I will be moving to Austin, Texas towards the end of the summer for a year long residency with Austin Ridge Bible church. For years people have been telling me I would love it in Austin. The live music capitol of the world. The number one movie theater in the country. Two of my closest friends from college live there. It had enough perks to at least check it out. While visiting (in the middle of some of the most severe rainfall in the states history) I visited a church that presented me the opportunity of helping them with their Young Adults program. A seat that ultimately did not exist in a program that had already begun. It pretty much fell into my lap. I had about three meetings and was given a week to pray about it. Each of the people I met with gave me the sense that I would be working with some of the most authentic people around. The longer I thought about it my heart felt as though this is exactly what I’ve been saying I’ve been wanting to do with this season of my life. I get to go out and meet people my age and strive for deep and meaningful relationships pointed towards Christ. (that sucks! oh my gosh! Can’t I do anything else!?) Over 50% of Austin is under the age of 35. About 15% of the city goes to church. There is a clear need for a Young Adults program and I honestly can’t wait to be involved in the outreach. In addition to this program I get to weekly learn about theology and ministry while also getting opportunities to travel to Uganda and D.C. (on my birthday!) as well as serving the homeless. My main focus will be weekly gatherings of a group the church calls “The Table” that feeds into their “Neighborhood groups.” I don’t know many churches with such a strong focus on people my age. It was a unique opportunity that I felt well suited for and I’m eager to see where God will use me.

It’s a cool opportunity in a cool city for a cool God.

If you made it this far I’ll also say I have to raise my financial expenses for the year. It comes in around $21,000 and I have till August to have it all pledged. (That’s just north of a month from now.) So to kindly ask for your prayer and money is something I must do!

If you would like to meet with me or talk with me, comment or call me and I’ll get back to you!

If you would like to give, below is an option to do so online.

1. Go to:
http://www.austinridge.org/about-us/residents#
2. Click on “Devon Bailey”
3. At the bottom there is the option to give one time or give monthly.
4. I have to raise approximately $21,000

5. If you give please let me know so I can thank you as well as keep you updated!

www.austinridge.org

Regardless of what you are able to do I’m just excited to share about this opportunity and will be sharing updates through here for sure! Keep me and the people I have yet to meet in your prayers!

-Devon 05/25/15

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s