Reinvesting In Others

“Our goal was for nobody to leave the group without knowing and trusting in Christ, and I am confident that all the boys in our group have a relationship with the Lord. I think it is the life change that God brought about in these young men that allowed our group to grow from 12 to 30 boys.” – Tim Ennis

“It’s funny that I spent the last seven years as a Watermark Student Ministries small group leader,” said Tim Ennis. “Because I was an 18-year-old college freshmen when I trusted Christ at a junior high student ministries retreat. I wasn’t even a believer when I agreed to go serve at the retreat with some buddies of mine, and that still seems kind of ironic when I think about it.

“I ended up at that retreat because of my college roommate at Texas A&M. He was part of a small group of faithful guys who had all been in the same church youth group together. They invited me to go with them to church and to Breakaway, a large campus ministry. I didn’t grow up going to church. I lived to be successful, finding my identity in sports and getting good grades. Otherwise my life didn’t seem to have much purpose.

“After I heard about Jesus, I spent the next eight months asking questions and not wanting to believe what I was learning about the gospel. When I finally trusted Christ, the Lord used the rest of my time in college as an opportunity to soak up God’s Word and enjoy a great time of fellowship with other believers. I learned so much I’d never heard before – from Genesis to the story of David and Goliath. Many others had grown up reading the Bible, but it was new to me. I discovered the importance of getting into God’s Word daily.

“After college, I got a job in Dallas where most of my friends were. I also started going to Watermark. As I put down roots at church, I started looking for a place to serve. I was actually planning to meet with another staff member about volunteering, but coincidentally ended up connecting with David Penuel, who is part of the Student Ministries team. He encouraged me to reinvest in other students in the same way that a student small group had changed my life. It was a big job to lead young men from 6th grade until high school graduation, but it was a commitment I decided to make.

“I actually ended up leading with David. I was 22 at the time and the boys were 12. The first thing that struck me was that these guys were sold out for Christ at a very early age. They were very honest about confessing sin and using God’s Word to offer one another advice. I’d gone through high school and most of college without knowing someone who talked about the gospel, so this group of guys was very refreshing to me.

“I knew I needed to lead myself well in order to talk to these guys with integrity about avoiding porn or other sin struggles. I’ve seen the boys talk very openly about their sin struggles, encourage others, and hold one another accountable as they move forward. Preparing for our Bible study each week also helped me stay in God’s Word. I felt like I learned as much as they did as God stretched me in the ability to learn and apply Scripture.

“I met Danielle, who I’m now married to, while I was leading the group. I was really passionate about learning to date well and wanted the guys to see me treating Danielle with respect. Being a good male leader in a relationship was the hardest thing I’ve done, and the boys were right there with me. They even threw us a shower before we got married.

“Over the last seven years, I also learned how much God values community. I have no doubt that these young men loved the Lord when they started the group, but they wouldn’t have become as faithful as they did without each other. As believers, we are not supposed to go it alone (Hebrews 10:24-25). We are here to spur one another on.

“Our goal was for nobody to leave the group without knowing and trusting in Christ, and I am confident that all the boys in our group have a relationship with the Lord. I think it is the life change that God brought about in these young men that allowed our group to grow from 12 to 30 boys. The guys were truly pursuing Christ with one another and others wanted to be part of it.

“Watching the boys go off to college has been tough because I feel like I’m losing my little brothers. David and I are going to miss each one of them, but from the first day, our goal was to set these guys up for success as they went to college. My hope is that when they are offered the ‘freedom’ of the party scene they will choose the true freedom of a life lived for Christ.”

JOIN WATERMARK STUDENT MINISTRIES!

If you are a student interested in joining a Small Group or an adult interested in serving as a leader, contact Anne Marie Mason today at amason@watermark.org.

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