Jubilee Stories: Chris White
If you’ve hung around the Harbor for any length of time, you’ve probably heard us invite you to the CCO’s Jubilee conference. Perhaps you’ve wondered why we care so much about getting students to come to this. In the weeks leading up to Jubilee 2018, we’ll be sharing a series of stories of our own experiences at Jubilee and how God has used this conference to transform our lives. This is why we work so hard to get students there.This week, we’re sharing a story from Chris White, pastor at Gateway Church, who will be attending his 21st Jubilee this year. Yes, Chris was on the main stage in 2012 dressed as Hermione Granger, but this story takes us back even farther to Jubilee 1998. Read on!
This might be a bit weird, but my first significant Jubilee memory is actually about the brochure. After my campus minister helped me sign up, I was encouraged to pick which breakout sessions to attend. I poured over the brochure looking at all the different options, completely mesmerized at the different topics covered. I mean, I had been to retreats and conferences before, and the topics were usually the same kinds of things—things to help me understand how to be a better Christian in the church world. In fact, I had come to the place where I thought that the marker of a strong Christian was to do more things inside the walls of a church building. However, all the breakout session speakers seemed to both passionately love Jesus and were top thinkers and creators in their fields.
It makes sense that this was shocking to me, given that I was raised in a church that was (and is still) at the crossroads of how to interact with the people around us who know Jesus as Savior and King. Should we seek to conquer places of influence in order to maintain a culture that loves Christian things (even if they don't believe them)? Should we simply follow around the culture caring about what it cares about (all while trying to do so in a way that sounds Christian so maybe folks might show up on Sunday)? Does work exist just so I have people around me that I need to invite to church? Am I really just supposed to do my job well enough that they keep me employed so that someone sees a Bible on my desk?
At Jubilee, I met people who had active and sincere belief that Jesus meant it when he said that the reign of God, the kingdom of God, had arrived and is still manifesting all over the entire world. They saw that all those older ways of connecting with the people around us had created a Christianity that had extra levels and sectioned-off areas that Jesus didn't care about. As the speakers opened up Scripture, I began to see how my sense of the kingdom was way smaller than what Jesus had announced and activated. At Jubilee, I began to see how the whole gospel of Jesus transformed every aspect of life.
What you might not know is that you are part of a movement bigger than you and me. Before I was born, a group of people saw the same confusion as you and I still experience. Because for them proclaiming the whole gospel became so paramount, they started the Jubilee conference. For me, it has now come full circle. I have attended every Jubilee since 1998, which means that I've been going to Jubilee since before many of you were alive. Jubilee has become a meeting place where people from around the country can collaborate and inspire one another as we seek to proclaim the whole gospel to the whole world.
Now, you have been given the chance to be mesmerized by the Spirit of God at Jubilee. You have something better than a color brochure. You have a cool app you can download today (on iPhone or Android, or check out the web version). You can begin charting your course for the weekend. Don’t miss this chance to have the reality of the Gospel change your life forever.