Concept, model, product, and launch. Each step requires an open, pliable mind with the ability to envision a future that has never existed before. It is an exciting yet frightening place to be. It works completely on FAITH and PASSION. I have had many of these beautiful opportunities in my life. There is another name for this process that most people would completely understand: LABOR and DELIVERY or the even more emotional name BIRTH.
It is amazing how one word creates an emotional response. BIRTH. When I think of that word, I feel queezy. I remember the feeling of being an expectant mother. I remember the confirmation of conception. A baby was more than a thought or desire now. The model was in the process of being built. I remember counting the weeks and understanding the growth that was happening inside me. What an awesome miracle! I was growing something that was a part of me but would one day live independently of me. Isn’t this true of any new creation–not just of human life?
I am experiencing the next step in this growth experience now. Allowing my baby to grow and be empowered by people other than me that I trust to care for it. You may think I am referring to a child, but I am actually referring to a post-secondary bible school. Can I confess that I have a lot of the same feelings that I did of leaving my child with someone other than me? It’s actually quite an interesting experience.
How It All Started
In October 2015, I was approached by my pastors (River of Life Church), Raymond and Lorna Burch, to oversee the creation and development of a post-secondary bible school to serve the southeast Georgia region. It was only a glimmer in their eyes at this point. I accepted the call and went to work to create what would be one of the most significant contributions of my life to date. Southeast Georgia Bible Institute (aka) SEGA Bible Institute (or SEGA for short) became a reality. With a vision of “Building the Kingdom & Equipping the Called” in January 2016, an extension campus of Life Christian University (LCU). SEGA began with a passionate core of 19 (17 in-class myself included and 2-distance) students with a heart for ministry and desire to grow in their knowledge of God and His Word.
As Campus Director, birth has occurred and now my baby is developing. Crawling, walking, and soon to be running. I remember each stage clearly. Every step was new territory because I had never built a school before. I had never contributed to the lives of 20 (including the instructor see above) in a way that would have a long lasting spiritual impact. Even as I type those words, I shutter to think of just how BIG that is, and I feel so grateful to be called for such a cause.
Holy Spirit reminds me that even as big as I felt it was for year one that we are now in year three. Of the 20 people (including instructor see above), a few students moved on, but the remaining begot others. In year two, we added 19 new students to the roll (see below).
Of those a few moved on, and the remaining (see above) again begot 24 more students for a total of 44 students (and 3 instructors – 2 with LCU Bachelor of Theology degrees; 1 with LCU Master of Theology degree; 1 Campus Director with a Master of Organizational Psychology/Consumer Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and an Advanced Diploma in Theology from Southeast Georgia Bible Institute/LCU). Wow, I just realized that means there are 48 people involved in our school (students, instructors and campus director). We’ve grown 250% since year one.
Sharing Responsibility and Control
This is where the discomfort begins. Of course, growing to this size required me to begin empowering others to work along side me in the school’s development. It is impossible to grow and stay the same. You will implode. When your project/baby begins to grow, you have to make a decision. Am I power hungry and have to have complete control over everything myself? Or do I love my project/baby so much that I want what is best for it, which is to empower trustworthy people to help me continue to grow it even further?
The first step was pretty easy. The host pastor’s and I started an Admin Board for our school of students from various levels and school leaders who together handle planning, school promotion, and decision-making. We have three students earning ministry practicum by ensuring a video is recorded their class for those who may want to review the video again or who may have been absent. There is a student earning ministry practicum for rendering, uploading and maintaining the video for all of our classes. There is a student in each class earning ministry practicum for providing administrative services to their class, and one (maybe two) who I am grooming to be able to double for me one day. Right now they are providing school-wide administrative services and overseeing the operations of the school during class hours.
Trusting the Process
All of that delegation seemed easy enough until it was time for me to walk out the front door for the first night. Now, I am taking a role of pastoring our students through their school journey, which does not require me to be there beyond the kick off of classes. It was time for me to allow those who share my passion to do their part. I felt like I was leaving my baby for the first time with a sitter. I did all of the things that a parent would do in that situation. I offered to be available by phone or text if they needed me. I left a comprehensive list of things they may need to refer back to since they were new. I checked in many times throughout the night. It really is so strange how closely this parallels the parent experience.
Week two, I didn’t go by the school. I touched base through our class admin feed. I’m trusting everyone to follow written instructions and to learn what works best for them in their own space. I am totally okay with them finding their groove as long as that groove collects all of the mandatory data we need for our main campus and serves our students with the highest integrity and excellence. I believe I have a group of people dedicated to do just that. They are here for the same reason I am. To build the Kingdom and equip the called. What a purpose we have!
Now, I am able to exhale. There were no calls from the hospital or from EMS. My baby grew by one-fourth of a course, and now by half a course (they just ended class two as I was writing this blog post). Still fruit that I birthed, but growing in family support from my brothers and sisters in Christ who are committed to being fruitful and splitting branches off of this same tree. I can only imagine what God will do to grow us next year using the 48 that we have now. What will we beget next year?