The Simple Gospel

The simple gospel

(And yes I mean simple!)

I can remember 5 years ago stepping into the Oak View community with nothing, no building to house kids, no soccer field, no skate parks, no relationships, no promise of something great happening in the future. We had no idea what to expect, all we knew is that we wanted to form relationships with these kids we didn’t yet know, and from those relationships make disciples. My mind instantly went to how weird this was! What do we have to offer? We had nothing! Why would kids want to hang out with us? When talking and planning everything out in the nice comfortable coffee shops that we would meet in I started to build confidence. But when I found myself walking the streets knocking on doors to see if kids would like to join our surf camp I was filled with those insecurities again.  I remember reading in Luke when Jesus was giving instructions to the disciples about entering a town that didn’t welcome them, he mentions something along the lines of shaking the dust off your sandals and moving on! In my head I was preparing to do that and I hadn’t even knocked on the first door yet!

That summer we had 9 kids attend our first surf camp, and it was simple. We picked up kids in the parking lot of their school and took them to the beach. I had all these ideas in my head on how it needed to look in order to work. I wanted a cool bus to pick all the kids up, I wanted each of them to have their own board so they didn’t have to share, and I wanted perfect little waves so they all could learn to surf (because in my head they were all going to become great surfers from this camp). In the end, it turned out that we simply had to take 4 cars to the beach, and it worked out perfectly. The kids had to share boards and it was fine. The waves were awful and it was windy but the kids had a blast just swimming and it was hard to get them out of the water. In my head I wanted things to be big and impressive. I wanted the kids to have these crazy awesome experiences and for some reason I thought I was the only one who could provide them with it. I was so insecure about them liking it and never wanting to come back again that it almost blinded me of my original reasoning for starting the surf camp, to share the love of Christ.


The rest of the camp went really well, and though none of the kids become surfers, they all just loved being in the ocean letting the waves throw them around. During that summer and through those simple relationships that we built many of the kids accepted Christ.  What I’ve learned these past few years is that God is with us in the simple plans we have and in the simple obedience we have. At the end of Mathew Jesus gives us specific directions on what to do, He says “therefore go and make disciples of all nations” . I can read that first part and get excited and anticipate what’s to come, but when things get hard or they don’t look the way I want them to,  it iseasy for me to forget what Jesus says in that same paragraph “I am with you always even at the end of age” .  This is a necessary reminder that even when times our challenging, our hope doesn’t come from what our building looks like, how many kids we have going through the program, or whether or not we have a skate park.  Our hope comes from the idea that God has called us to keep things simple… tell people about Jesus and what He’s done! I can honestly say since the time I knocked on my first door in Oak View 5 years ago, it has been mind blowing to see where God has taken me from simply trying to obey that one call.




Mathew 28:18-20 “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age”

Matt JohnsonComment