Updated: Aug 28, 2018
This summer, I along with 38 other students from Marietta First United Methodist’s youth group traveled down to Panama City Beach, Florida where we attended Bigstuf 2018. Here, we met with about 1,500 other students from around the southeast and got to worship and learn about God while we were at the beach. I couldn’t think of better combination. This was the first time a lot of us had ever been to Bigstuf. With that said, I didn’t really know what to expect, but little did I know that this trip was going to have one of the biggest influences on my faith journey.
While at Bigstuf, we got to swim, lay out on the beach, there were snow cones, a Bigstuf store, a water slide and so much more. However, I think the thing I enjoyed most was the worship and the sessions. Bigstuf has different speakers for each week throughout the summer. The week our group went, Stuart Hall was our speaker. The things that I liked most about Stuart was that he kept me engaged the whole time and hit points that were very relevant in my life and in the lives of those sitting around me. One of my favorite points he made was that we as Christians should stand out, but not by how we act, what we post on Instagram, or how we look. While those things do matter, the thing that matters most is how we, as Christians, love one another. He showed the example of lunch tables at school. We all know there are cliques when it comes to who sits with who during lunch time; that’s just how it is. He challenged us to open our table. Open our table to those who no one talks to, who sits alone, who everyone says is “weird.” Why? Because as Christians, we’re called to love even those people and invite them in.
Leaving this trip, I definitely felt changed in my faith. I felt more aware of not only how I love, but who I love. Of course it’s easy to say you’re a Christian when you love the people that are easy to love. When your faith really gets tested is when God puts people in your life that are not so easy to love. So next time, instead of shutting out the people that are hard to love, invite them to your table. Love them like Jesus loves you.
- Ellie Storey