Remember to Celebrate

I just finished writing a report on Collegiate Ministries’ work last year for our Board of Trustees. It was a great joy to write that many of our measures were at record highs. Most notable: 150 new chapters were planted, student and faculty involvement broke 41,000 for the first time, and the number of people accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior was well over 4,000. It is exciting to participate with what God is doing and see this fruit. Thank you to the many of you who invested in the lives of others on campus!

I am energized to step into the interim position as Vice President and Director of Collegiate Ministries. The work on campus is the heart of InterVarsity, and I’m honored to have this opportunity to participate in leading the movement forward in its mission. I have worked with InterVarsity for 40 years. I came on staff serving as a CSM with four chapters. (We all worked multiple chapters in those days.) Through the years I have served in various staff director positions, led the Women’s Council, and headed up the Chapter Growth Initiative. My dedication to our mission and the purpose of our movement has only grown; it is worth giving our lives to. 

Learn to Celebrate

Over my time with InterVarsity, I have seen many successes. I think one of the things we need to get better at is taking time to celebrate what God has done before we simply move on to the next thing. We have to remember and thank God for all he has done. When we do this, we see his goodness and faithfulness, and it brings joy into our lives.  

The Israelites in the Old Testament were commanded to gather for festivals three times a year to celebrate the goodness of God. They also built altars to commemorate what the Lord had done in a specific place. They were visible signs to remind people passing by that the Lord had done something great for his people in that place. Often people would change the name of a place to commemorate the workings of the Lord. These were experiences that gave strength and unity to the people of Israel.

Too often in our busy lives, we give a quick shout out of praise and then move on to pray for the next goal that we want to achieve. We need to make a habit of savoring the goodness of the Lord in the prayers he has answered and in the fruit we have seen produced. Celebration is a spiritual discipline. In celebration, we choose to remember all that the Lord has done and praise him for who he is and the faithfulness he has shown us. When we forget about celebration, we tend to forget about who the Lord is and his faithfulness to us. When hard times come, we don’t as quickly remember God’s faithfulness, and instead we begin to question his goodness and even whether he cares.

I know this is a busy time of year, being in the middle of the semester and NSO follow-up. Take time in your large groups to celebrate what God did at the end of last semester, over the summer, and through NSO. Take time to celebrate the contribution that each person on your team brings to the mission you share. We all function better when we feel appreciated. Take time for that.

Above all, know that the Lord celebrates you and your service to him. Thank you for all you do to spread the gospel and further the kingdom.

About the Author
Interim Vice President and Director of Collegiate Ministries

Janet Balajthy serves as interim Vice President and Director of Collegiate Ministries. She and her husband, Ernie (an InterVarsity faculty advisor at SUNY Geneseo), live in Rochester, New York. They have two grown children, daughter, Sara, and son, David, who were both involved with InterVarsity leadership in college. Janet has been with InterVarsity since 1975.