I watched my parents worship.
I watched my parents pursue God’s heart in all facets of life.
I watched my parents fervently pray.
I watched my parents seek God’s will over their own.
I watched my parents dive into the Word, minister to others and faithfully give their lives away for the church.
Watching, however, was not enough.
For many years I got by just by being a good person. I followed the rules and never missed a Sunday. I avoided getting into trouble and deeply desired to please my parents. One day, however, sinful temptation knocked on my door. With fear and timidity, I welcomed it into my life. I allowed my peers’ acceptance to dictate my decisions. For a while, I felt dirty and ashamed; eventually, I grew numb. My decision to ignore the voice of God and the conviction of the Holy Spirit welcomed in a debilitating spirit of complacency. But it was okay because it still appeared to others I followed Jesus. I performed quite well.
The enemy enabled me to live a double life. Jesus’ kindness did not. My transition into college at Baylor mirrored my transition into a beautifully uncomfortable season of brokenness. My heart became tender again as I grieved over my rebellious ways from high school. It was time to own my sin and cultivate a personal intimacy with the Father. Sounds glorious, right? Not quite. Going to depths with God gets messy.
A few months into life at Baylor, a friend invited me to her Lifegroup. I thought I was attending a casual Bible study. In actuality, this was a group of passionate worshippers committed to bringing the Kingdom of God to Waco. Though a little overwhelmed by the passion and zeal, I knew I had just encountered the most authentic display of church I’d ever seen.
Fast-forward to spring of 2009 and the college ministry spring break trip, Awaken. The morning of the first day I gathered with hundreds of other college students, completely intimidated and regretting my decision to go. Little did I know, this week would reset the trajectory of my life forever. In the midst of sharing the Gospel for the first time, hearing life-altering teachings, experiencing the richness of true community and encountering God’s presence during extended times of worship, I finally had eyes to see and ears to hear. The love of God was tangible. I began to understand that genuinely encountering the love of God will spur you on to do anything… no matter the cost, risk or sacrifice.
I had heard Antioch’s Discipleship School equipped people to live out the Kingdom in all different spheres of life, while cultivating a deeply personal relationship with Jesus. Sign me up! After graduating, I ventured into a year of the training school which radically challenged and changed me. The training school exceeded my expectations. Halfway through the year, I felt a tug on my heart for Knoxville, Tenessee. My previous idea to move overseas to a third-world country quickly submitted to God’s surprising plan.
God began to birth life and vision for the city of Knoxville in my heart. After many conversations and much praying, I decided to join the Antioch Knoxville staff. Leaving a beautiful life full of rich friendship in Waco was the best and worst thing I have ever done. In God’s grace and kindness, He led me to the place where I would have the deepest intimacy with Him.
Church-planting in Knoxville has not been a glamorous stroll in the park, but rather a gloriously humbling roller coaster ride. And, there is no place I’d rather be! Jarrod and Jennifer Justice, Greg and Allison Trevathan, and Jeff Jones deserve great honor. I am beyond privileged to work with these five world changers to see Heaven released in Knoxville. God is moving in this city.
Now, I worship.
I pursue God’s heart in all facets of life.
I seek God’s will over my own.
I dive into the Word, minister to others and live a challenging and rich life serving the church.
He has showed me how. He has showed me that He is enough.
Follow Sara on Twitter @SaraLucado
Staff, Antioch Knoxville