Early in my Christian faith, I was told that there are three eternal investments we can make in this life: our relationship with God himself, our engagement in God’s Word, and our impact on the souls of people. The point was that if you want to put your energies into what will last forever, then major on these three things. I’ve appreciated that counsel throughout my twenty years of walking with God.
In light of that, I would like to celebrate a wise and eternal investment of our church over the last four and a half years. Stephen Weinkauf has faithfully served as a pastoral intern to our church family. I have been grateful to work alongside him for this period of time. He has had a significant impact on us as his church family, and I know that we have had an impact on him.
As his internship comes to a close next month, and as he leads us in the word these next two Sundays, I want to reflect on and celebrate the investments made in and through Stephen.
Stephen started attending Kossuth as a college student. I remember meeting him for the first time and continuing to connect with him as he plugged into our church family more and more. We have all seen Stephen grow spiritually through the years. We have also seen Stephen help others (and us) to do the same. I personally have been impacted by his ministry when I have heard him preach, teach, or interact over a cup of coffee. I’m eager to see that investment pay a hundredfold return as he continues to make disciples in his next ministry context.
We have made a relational investment in Stephen and are better off for it. Four and a half years adds up to a lot of time together. Stephen has been a friend to us, and we have been a friend to him. He even stayed in my personal home for a while in-between apartment leases. As much as I will miss Stephen, I’m eager to see our relational investment continue to bear fruit as we stay in communication with each other even after he leaves Lafayette.
Stephen will complete his Master of Divinity degree from Faith Bible Seminary in a few weeks. He has also received considerable ministry training as an intern and member of the ministry staff team at Kossuth. I am excited about what is next for him because I believe he is ready to continue to make an impact for God’s kingdom. You, his church family, have made that possible through your investment in his life and ministry, your prayers for him, and your financial support. It is an investment well placed. As we have been impacted by Stephen’s ministry, we send him with the excitement that others can continue to be impacted by him as well.
These are just a few ways that your investment has played out over the last few years related to Stephen. I’m sure we could articulate more. I share these for three reasons, though. First, take a moment and celebrate something good. Kossuth has had the privilege of investing in another young man and sending him out into a lifetime of ministry. That is something to get excited about and to thank God for. Second, thank God for the joy of our deep friendship with Stephen over the years. We are better off for that relationship. And third, pray for Stephen’s next steps in ministry. He has been exploring potential options after his internship concludes at the end of June. We want to see Stephen thrive in this next season of ministry and should pray to that end.
I am grateful for the investment we have made, and I’m eager for us to continue to make these kinds of investments as a church. Whenever we invest in someone’s relationship with God, his word, and their ministry to others, we are impacting eternity.