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Ignite Monmouth Student Leader Gives Last Message

Wednesday, May 2 marked the end of a chapter for the Ignite group at Monmouth College. Co-founder Ian Smith gave his last talk as a student leader.

Ian spent the time talking about the importance of knowing your dream, and doing everything you can to pursue it. He challenged Ignite students that it didn’t matter how big or how small their dream might seem, it’s still important and the world needs us to pursue that dream, even when it might seem like our dreams can’t come true.

He ended his talk by encouraging the group to write out their dreams, place them in an envelope and give them to Coach and President Jason Vana to hold on to until each student’s senior year. It was a powerful time for the group.

Ian has made a lasting impact on many of the Ignite members at Monmouth College, and were able to encourage him and share just how much he means them.

Ian will be among the graduating class of 2012, walking across the stage and receiving his degree on Sunday, May 20. He plans to pursue his Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary, studying online for the first two years.

He was drastically changed during his time in Ignite, which he recounts below:

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Read more of how Ignite impacted Ian Smith

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Ignite Students have an Encounter

This past weekend, Ignite Student Ministries had the privilege of hosting the bi-annual Encounter Retreat at Camp Summit in New Windsor, Illinois. These retreats are intended to give students the opportunity to get off campus, disconnect from homework and responsibilities and work and stresses from school, and focus on encountering God.

We had 21 students from 6 different schools attend, including Monmouth College (Monmouth, IL), Carl Sandburg College (Galesburg, IL), Culver-Stockton College (Canton, MO), Illinois State University (Normal, IL), Ashford University (Clinton, IA), Galesburg High School (Galesburg, IL) and United High School (Monmouth, IL), along with three Ignite staff members.

Students were excited to take part in a number of sessions geared to growing their faith. These sessions included:

  • Be Prepared, on the importance of preparing yourself to encounter Christ;
  • Silence, where students spent an hour and a half in silence in order to hear God;
  • God of the Impossible, that nothing can limit God from fulfilling his promises to us;
  • Defending Your Faith, on how to use apologetics to defend your faith;
  • Discovering You, where students took a number of personality and leadership quizzes; and
  • The Butterfly Effect, on how a simple action can have a huge impact.

They also enjoyed times of worship and prayer, extended free and fellowship time, lots of food and a lot of of fun….and not one came back the same.

Tyler Fox, Ignite Sandburg Student Leader, had this to say about his time at the Encounter Retreat:

Over the past weekend, he [Ignite President and Visionary Leader, Jason Vana] spoke some words to me that hurt. Frankly, some of them were a slap to the face.
Were they true? Yes.
Did I need to hear them? Yes.
Am I grateful? More than I have been in a long time.
He explained that I’m in a time of change. And told me to get over what I’ve been feeling. To get over the pain, the hurt, everything, and move on. He said what I didn’t want to think.
Read more of the story on Tyler’s blog.

Hear more stories from the Ignite Encounter Retreat from the students who were there:

Watch more videos of Ignite Encounter Retreat stories on our Youtube page!

Deeper: Set the Example

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”
1 Timothy 4:12

There seems to be a common theme among many churches and youth groups: young people can’t make a real difference.

Sure, we believe they can invite their friends to church, maybe go on a missions trip, serve on the worship team or help flip slides for the Sunday morning worship. We’re fine with young people cleaning the church building, greeting or mowing the church yard.

But when it comes to making a real difference, when it comes to leading their friends to Christ, or starting their own Bible study, or leading a group of their peers to drastically change the culture at their junior high, high school or college…that’s when we get a little hesitant.

Young people don’t know enough. They haven’t studied the Bible thoroughly, haven’t attended a good seminary. They don’t know the words to say, how to handle tough situations and we sure don’t want them representing our church if they do something wrong.

And so instead of equipping young people, instead of helping them reach their potential, instead of giving them a dream of truly making a difference…we play games, and have pizza parties, and try our hardest to teach them not to sin.

Because apparently following Christ is all about doing the right thing.

But Paul took a different approach with young people.
He told them to set the example.

Historians aren’t sure how old Timothy was when Paul penned these words to him. Some believe he might have been as young as 25. Others say he could have been as old as 40. What we do know, though, is that members of the church he was overseeing at the time thought he was too young, too inexperienced to be leading.

In Timothy’s culture, you weren’t considered learned enough to teach until you were at least 30 – the same age Jesus was when his ministry started. You had to go to be trained, disciple under an approved rabbi and have two rabbis accept and release you before you had the authority to speak on spiritual matters.

Timothy didn’t have that.

He wasn’t old enough. He was trained enough. He never went to seminary, didn’t have the life experience, and according to everyone but Paul, he was too young to lead them.

But making an impact for Christ, helping people grow deeper with Him, isn’t about how old you are or how experienced or how trained.

It’s something we’re all called to do.

Set the example. Be pure. Love unconditionally. Serve wholeheartedly. Share your story. Invite others into the story of Christ. Grow your faith.

And don’t worry how old, or young, you are.

Because God can still use you.

After all, He called twelve teenage and early twenties boys to follow Him, and they turned the world upside down.

And so, my brothers and sisters, as you journey through this thing called life, may you remember that you are never too young to make a difference for Christ. May you young people rise up in the gifts and potential God has given you. And my you set the example for other believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

How can you set the example of how a believer should live?

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Ignite Monmouth Leader Preaches

Ignite is in the business of empowering students to be leaders in their schools, workplaces and churches. Everything we do, from starting community groups on local campuses to organizing mission trips around the world, is designed to help students grow closer to God and make an impact their world.

This past Sunday, September 18, we rejoiced when long time Ignite member and current student leader, Dan Asbell was asked to preach at his home church of 16 years, First Presbyterian Church of Elmwood about Overcoming the Devil’s Persecution.

Dan has been involved in the Ignite Monmouth group since its launch in April 2010, and has been on the leadership team since January of this year. He has faithfully led discussions, helped other students grow in their relationship with Christ and was even a member of the 2011 Ignite Czech mission trip.

But he wasn’t always as bold with his faith.

Dan recounts:

I recently had the opportunity to speak to my hometown church about my recent missions trip to the Czech Republic. Not only did I talk about the trip itself but I also gave the sermon for that Sunday’s worship service. This was a really scary task for me. Even though I’ve been going to this church my entire life, I had never done anything like this before. Usually, I just hide in the background and do whatever that needs to be done there.

After I finished preaching, people were really amazed at the growth they’ve seen in me in the past few years. People would say that I’m not the same boy that would sit quietly in the pews just a few years back. They told me how proud they were of what I’ve done and were very excited about the possibilities I had in my future. I give God all the credit for these things, but I know that they never would have happened without a group like Ignite. God used Ignite and the all the people in the group to help me grow and blossom into the person that I am today.

We proud of all God is doing within Dan’s life and how He has molded Dan into such an amazing leader.

To learn more about how Ignite is transforming the lives of students, visit the Student Stories playlist on our YouTube Channel.