Erick Innis

How do you make Jesus your pattern…at home? at work? during leisure activities? in your rest? 

I think this must begin with Jesus being on your mind, and that will begin with making a decision to think about Him, but at some point, He should be so engrained into our decisions and our thoughts that there really isn’t a time where He is not leading and driving them. One of the harder things is allowing Jesus to be the standard instead of American standards, even when they seem pretty harmless (and sometimes, even “Christian”). I have noticed that I have let the “American church” dictate my priorities and what is expected of me with my money, time, and energy instead seeking Jesus’s desires through scripture and personal time spent with Him. So, it starts with knowing Scripture, trusting it, and as that trust strengthens, you find that your faith in it drives you to live by it.

How do you live out some of our core values at work?

Similar to the way I feel about “time” and “money,” there really isn’t a set “event” or “period” that is designed to be ministerial, and then the other times are for you and doing what you want to do. Every minute of our lives should be available for sharing Jesus, and God has set up every encounter so that He can be glorified in some way (and, for the record, that doesn’t even necessarily mean that you have to speak His glory). I think the only way that we have this mindset is if Jesus and others have that kind of priority in our lives. Do we love Him and them enough to soak up moments at work, at home, and while we are relaxing? Do we love people enough to feel almost a desperation to share the gospel because we can’t stand the thought of someone not getting to experience His love and joy for another day, let alone for eternity? Do we fully grasp the opportunity that we have when we encounter people; and not only that, but we have a responsibility! People are depending on us, whether we, or they, know it or not! Therefore, we can’t AFFORD to NOT weave Him into our daily lives strategically. Actually, THEY can’t afford it. And just because they have encountered church does not mean that they have encountered Jesus, so I think we have to be intentional in the way we show the nature of Jesus instead of the nature of the American church.

 

I have a blast doing this at work every day because I think it’s fun to navigate how I’m going to advertise God in a public high school. God hit me with an analogy that changed how I taught one day last year. I realized that I can enhance your intrigue in an artist better by showcasing his work FAR BETTER than I could simply by telling you about him. In other words, I don’t have to mention the artist’s name to showcase their unbelievable talent or skill. In the same way, not being allowed to mention God’s name does not mean I won’t be able to show you His majesty. I can’t say His name? Fine, but if I craft my words and lessons well, God will allow me to instill in you a hunger to meet the “painter” simply by seeing and hearing how beautiful his masterpiece of “biology” is. 

How do you live out some of our Behavioral values at work?

 

When your clientele at work consists of 13-15 year-olds, you have to understand that they won’t automatically walk into your “office” or classroom wanting to spend time with you. With this generation, respect is not something you can assume that you’ll receive; it is given once it is earned. One way that students really appreciate a teacher is by recognizing their dedication to their job and to their students. I hear it all the time; students know who is there for the right reasons and who WANTS to be there. When you show through your work that your “clients” are worth your time and energy, a budding relationship begins, and the growth continues if you find time outside of the school day for them. This is where connections are deepened and life-long relationships begin. One of the most advantageous characteristics to have when you are trying to connect with kids, at least in 2017, is to be uncharacteristically open and vulnerable. Barriers and walls crumble in the wake of an adult telling a 14-year-old about their struggles and heart aches in life, and that develops a level of trust that you can build on going forward.

 

Does any particular Scripture inspire your approach to your job / craft? 

 

1John 3:16 says that, “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

Shouldn’t our work reflect this as well? If we are called to give up our very lives for others, then are we not certainly expected to give up our time? And whatever we do for work, shouldn’t it be in total dedication to people?

 

Do you have any stories of how Jesus has used you to impact your co-workers?

Co-worker, no, but students, definitely. A year and a half ago, some other teachers and I created a community group for students at McMinn. Throughout this time and across all of our meetings, we have seen amazing things. We have driven students who had no way, seen kids find a deeper relationship with Jesus, watched an atheist become a believer, and established a consistent group that students genuinely want to be a part of and look forward to. Also, now that we are planting a church, this community group has already started feeding the beginning of a possible “youth group,” and they have begun coming to our church planting community group. So, looking back, God has shown His glory to tons of our students, but that number is only going to continue to grow as we start to develop our youth group.

 

Questions written by Todd Stevison

Answered by Erick Innis