Tag Archives: emerging leaders

Mere Disciple Interview: Karyn Makins

Recently I was thinking about a way to highlight some of the people that I’ve come to admire as examples of people who are passionately pursuing Jesus.  I thought that it might be cool to post some short interviews with them on this blog, and in the process have them impact you through their faith and passion (if they haven’t done so already). 

First up on the interview queue, Karyn Makins.  I met Karyn back in late 2008, and after our first coffee together it was obvious that she was intensely interested in discovering and following through on God’s call on her life–whatever that turned out to be.  Over the next several months, Karyn got heavily involved in our community, built some great connections within our church and established herself as one of our young adults who led by example and exuded a passionate and sincere faith. 

Currently, Karyn serves as a leader within Grindstone’s high school program (Elevate), and also serves as a member of one of our Sunday morning worship teams. 

What does being a disciple of Jesus mean to you? 

Being a disciple of Jesus to me means being like him in everything that I do. You know the cliché Christian saying “what would Jesus do?” I actually ask myself that a lot! When I am going through my day and trying to be a disciple I ask myself what would he do in this situation? Then I try and do it! I think it also means learning and practicing what we learn from other Christians who exemplify Jesus’ character or what we learn from reading the word and seeing who Jesus is.  

What have been a few of the more significant learning curves you’ve experienced as it relates to following Jesus?

I think that I have had a few significant circumstances that have really challenged me to forgive and love others despite what they have done to me. The great thing about Jesus’ love is that it isn’t earned and in fact isn’t deserved. He forgives me for how I have wronged him – just as I need to forgive others that have wronged me. 

I also have learned a lot about living life with kingdom value instead of worldly value. I think that it is good to do things for fun, and that things need to be prioritized (like your job, school etc.) but knowing that if there is something that will enhance the kingdom you prioritize that instead because you know that its value is greater. 

Describe your relationship with God in five words.

Dependence, love, trust, challenging, comfort.

Why are you connected and involved in a local church?

I am involved in the Church for a few different reasons. I LOVE to serve in ministry; it gets me excited and fulfills me! I also think that as Christ’s followers we are called to serve especially in the body of Christ. God gives us spiritual gifts that help others connect to him and grow in their faith.

When did your faith first become “real” and why? 

My faith first became real to me when I entered high school. I was blessed to have met passionate Christ followers who I became very close with. They were living a lifestyle that reflected Jesus’ character and had a personal relationship with him – which was something I was missing. Over the course of grade 9 and 10 I was able to understand and start a relationship with Jesus and ultimately ended up living for his will only, not mine.

 What is a life-stage challenge for you as it relates to living out your faith faithfully and passionately?

 There are so many areas of my life that challenge me to live out my faith. One is living in a culture that is all about selfishness and consumerism. I find that it is a struggle to daily put others before myself and not be consumed by things of worldly value instead of kingdom value.

While I am waiting for my mission term in Rwanda I am working in a mall where all I want to do is spend money on things that have next-to-no value. I also find that my job can be exhausting and can sometimes feel pointless. I know that in this time God can use me through the relationships I have built, but it is so hard to live with zealous faith when I spend my time in a job that is so un-fulfilling. I just look forward to February when I will be serving alongside orphans, widows and refugees.


The Challenges of the 18-25 Window

The following is an excerpt from Mere Disciple: a spiritual guide for emerging leaders.

The window between the ages of 18–25 is full of progression, and is one of the most formative stages of our lives.  We experience growth throughout our lives, with each stage presenting new challenges and opportunities, but most people I know admit that these seven years are amongst the most powerful and soul-shaping.  That’s because a number of factors come together to form a perfect storm that ignites a quest, a spiritual expedition bent on working through theological and philosophical questions in ways that no other stage of life affords.  It’s often during these years that the following questions become urgent to resolve:

“What makes me different from my family or the people around me?”
“Am I lovable and am I capable of loving someone else?”
“Does God really love me?”
“Does God really like me?”
“What will I do with my life?”
“Do I matter?”
“Do I have something to contribute to this world that is of value?”

It’s not that these questions are necessarily new (we’ve asked many of them before), but what makes the questions different is the new vantage point we are exploring them from.  The questions haven’t changed dramatically from earlier years, but we have.  Socially, spiritually, physically, emotionally, psychologically, intellectually, experientially, etc., our world is expanding at an almost unmanageable pace.  The result is a kind of existential vertigo—a dizzying sense of confusion surrounding what has been, what is, and what is taking shape.

During this time, we often search for clarity on the four primary worldview questions:

  1. “Who am I?”
  2. “Where am I?”
  3. “What’s the problem?”
  4. “What’s the solution?”

These questions drive us to confront larger issues of identity, personal purpose, and meaning.  Getting clarity on these issues is challenging, however, because at the same time we’re bombarded by a myriad of voices offering advice, options, and opportunities—many of which are hollow and hopeless.  We get distracted and derailed, and after a while it’s easy to feel as if we’re just treading water, drifting in a sea of questions, potentialities, and uncertainties.

Adding to the complexity is the deconstructive movement that often emerges during this time as well.  Many of us begin to seriously question our faith, or walk away from it altogether.  We unearth serious doubts and suspicions, and find that the black-and-white answers of our childhood and the glib answers of early adolescence don’t help us cope with the growing realization that the world is much more complex than first imagined.  While the teenage years are often a time of physical rebellion (e.g., sex, drugs, drinking, etc.), now a kind of psychological/philosophical rebellion begins to take hold.   In almost every area of our lives, we’re asking what really matters and why.  We’re beginning to wonder if our lives are the result of our own intentional choices or the result of choices made for us.

This is the time in our lives when all of the struggles, all of the questions, all of the anxieties and uncertainties need to become secondary to Jesus’ call of discipleship.  It’s not that the struggles and questions we face are unimportant, it’s that they’re so important that to refuse to ground them in the person and power of Jesus is reckless.  Trying to figure out life on our own sounds heroic to some, but we don’t hold the answers to what we’re dealing with—Jesus does.  We can run from that truth, but we need to know that if we do we’re running down a dead-end road.

To purchase Mere Disciple: a spiritual guide for emerging leaders in either paperback or eBook format, click here.