Silas and I met the day before his freshman year at Oakland University. From the moment we met, his charisma and insight impressed me; for a freshman to have any insight is a miracle in itself! As the semester started, Silas and I began to develop a relationship and started meeting periodically. Silas shared his desire to become his own person and discover who he wants to be. He knew he wanted to pursue the Lord but wasn’t sure how that fit in with the rest of his passions.
For many, Silas included, freshman year is a year of discovery and mistakes. Finding out who you want to be and what you want to pursue in life sometimes takes making a few mistakes. Silas found himself teeter-tottering between pursuing the world and pursuing the Lord. Despite this, his leadership characteristics, personality, and heart for others shined through. Silas remained an encouragement and light to his roommates and connected with people on campus. As freshman year came to an end, Silas was given an opportunity to go all in on his faith as he was asked to be a leader in Younglife.
After much contemplation, Silas accepted the role and returned his sophomore year with a newfound commitment to seek the Lord. It was here that Silas and I began meeting weekly. As we got to know each other, his character, knowledge, passion, and wisdom became more apparent. Silas had the potential and raw skills to make a significant impact for the Lord. The only problem was that the world is a tempting place. Silas is the kind of person who, when he sets his mind to something, will do it wholeheartedly. In this case, it was a matter of choosing to serve the world or God.
Silas and I spent months wrestling with the question until he was ready to die to the flesh and become alive to Christ.
As soon as he committed, his life changed. Silas changed his priorities, schedule, people he hung out with, and life goals to reflect his commitment to Christ. Silas went all in with Younglife and began to make a huge impact on those around him. He began evangelizing to his roommates, started a small group, developed a desire to speak, and even started meeting with other men weekly to disciple them.
Our conversations changed from should I go all in to how can I give all of myself to the Lord. Silas and I spent time learning how to lead small groups, prepare and give a message, mentor, and lead in a ministry effectively. Through our time together and his commitment to the Lord Silas has become an integral part of Younglife’s ministry. Silas has been a key leader in Younglife for a year and a half and, by God’s grace, has produced much fruit.
I could not be prouder of Silas’s ministry, but I am even prouder of the man he is becoming. Silas yearns to die to himself and become alive to Christ. He seeks to know the Lord intimately and be transformed to become like the Teacher. Silas is a man after the Lord’s heart and it is an honor to be able to cheer him on and encourage him on his journey.
Silas is a living testament to Jesus’ words in Matthew 16:25 “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Silas has come to know the sweetness of finding his life and purpose in Christ.
Silas is a senior now and with one semester left he is ready to leave it all out on the table. Silas has no plans of slowing down now or even after graduation. After graduating, Silas plans on applying to PA school and pursuing one of his other passions, science. I am confident that no matter where he goes or what he does, he will be a light to his coworkers and the world.
Below you will read a quote from Silas about his time in Cultivate. I am thankful and encouraged by his words and hope that as you read it, you will rejoice in all that God is doing in his life.
“I don’t think Kyle fully understands the impact that he has had on my life, and the lives of countless other young adults in the Oakland area. He has helped to understand the richness of God’s character in new and powerful ways, and he has helped me identify areas in my life where I can improve, then actively encourages and challenges me to grow in them. There are countless examples of this, but the one that sticks out to me the most was when he encouraged me to use the gifts that God has given me to serve The Kingdom. This led me to make the decision to help lead a campus ministry at OU called YoungLife, which, by the grace and provision of God, has had a tremendous impact on students at OU. Without Kyle, I would have never made this decision. Serving in YoungLife has easily been the most meaningful part of time as a college student, and I am so thankful for how this experience has made me fall in love with Jesus more and more every day. Thanks to Kyle’s faithful mentorship, I have had this wonderful opportunity to serve the Lord.”
Written by Kyle Vens, Director of Cultivate