School Leaders Speak About…Faith
“Dull, careless, and complacent” oftentimes describe the average Christian’s walk with God. Instead of lives set ablaze by a passionate fire, sometimes hearts turn to stone and only cold embers remain. Being a lukewarm Christian is a mistake some of us make when we fall into the enemy’s trap by allowing our relationship with God to become another thing on our “to-do” list, and in doing so, we lose not only the fervor and love of being completely identified with His Son, but the one-one-one connection that is vital to keep our faith intact.
One who has defended himself from Satan’s disguised tactics is Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale’s Senior Pastor, Bob Coy. Shepherding a mega-church of over 20,000 people and being husband and father all at the same time cannot be an easy task. Yet Pastor Bob is filled with a power that pales in comparison to all others—that which comes from having an intimate relationship with the Most High God. Recently, he took some time to talk to us, and here’s what he said…
DG: As the pastor of Calvary Chapel for almost 25 years now, how have you maintained the fire in your faith to wholeheartedly serve the church?
PB: God is eternally exciting and He’s always acting in new and dynamic ways. That’s just who He is. His fire never goes out, and the key to maintaining the fire in my faith personally and in my service in ministry, has been to simply stay close to Him. When you’re connected to God, when you’re abiding in Him, then it’s His fire that’s going to fuel your faith and everything that you do in His service.
DG: How must a CCA student guard against apathy in his or her walk with God to ensure that ministry and service is a lifestyle and not just a list responsibilities?
PB: Keep it real! Stay absolutely sincere and transparent with God. A lot of times I think we’re under the impression God can’t handle or understand where we’re at. He can and He does, and we just need to trust that. We need to honestly express what’s going on in our hearts to Him, whether it’s anger, temptation, disappointment or even doubting His existence. He can handle it, and when you open up this way with Him we keep things real and protect yourself from spiritual apathy. And when your walk is strong, your service will naturally follow.
DG: Being the leader of both a family and a church, how have you determined where your top priorities lie and have you found it difficult to follow them?
PB: Again, it all goes back to my relationship with God. He’s the one who provides the wisdom and perspective that has ordered my priorities over the years. I learned a long time ago that God knows more than I do, even when it comes to myself! So I depend on Him to show me how to prioritize the relationships and responsibilities that He’s brought into my life. And because it’s coming from Him, it’s always right and reliable. Has it been difficult? At times, but I’ve also found God’s grace to be more than sufficient when I’m following His lead.
DG: What are the dangers of overcommiting one’s self? even in seemingly harmless areas such as ministry?
PB: In ministry, the danger is that you can become an imposter. When you take on more than the Lord has actually called you to, you fall into the trap of talking about Jesus instead talking to Jesus. That can only last so long before burn-out sets in. Outside of ministry, you fail to fulfill God’s higher calling on your life when it comes to your family. God can change where a person ministers, but family is forever. I will always be responsible to pastor my wife and children, and I’m not doing any good if I forsake that calling by overcomitting myself.
DG: Why do you think many students experience burnout from their involvements in ministry, school, and social activities?
PB: I honestly believe it all stems from 2 things. First, not really praying about what God actually wants them involved in. And second, engaging in more events and activities than He’s called them to. The Lord doesn’t want to burden or burn us out, and is we find ourselves in that condition, then it means we’ve run through a red light somewhere.
DG: What advice would you give to CCA students who struggle with balancing their spiritual walk, academics, and extracurricular activities?
PB: This is going to sound simplistic, and I want it to…the best advice I can give to anyone is to develop a real intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. Get familiar with what it means to hear His still-small voice inside your heart by being in the Word on a consistent basis, because that’s how He primarily speaks to us. When you get that going, you’re going to find it a lot easier to be led by Him. And when you’re led by the Spirit you’ll find the balance you need, and be able to by-pass the things that the Lord just hasn’t called you to.
DG: As CCA continues to excel in areas of academics, fine arts, and sports, what must we do to ensure that the school’s main focus of spiritual discipleship still plays the number one role?
PB: By being disciples. By understanding that CCA is only going to become a bigger version of what’s happening in the individual lives of the students and faculty. When discipleship is happening outside of school, I believe discipleship is going to happen in school. If it’s who we are, then it’s what we’ll do.