When I was a kid, I loved being outside and playing games with my siblings. One of our favorite activities was jumping on the trampoline behind our house. Spare moments would be quickly spent by running outside and bounding onto it. We would jump and bounce as high as we could, attempt flips and tricks, and even make up games to play on the trampoline.
Every once in a while, an unanticipated bounce or an out of control jump would take me soaring off. I would fly through the air and painfully land on the surrounding hardened dirt. I would go from experiencing the elastic, springy surface of the trampoline to experiencing the firm, hard surface of the ground. These two contrasting surfaces couldn’t be more different.
When I look back on the season of my life at YWAM Louisville, I see it as the springy surface of the trampoline and the solid ground.
God has used YWAM to be a firm foundation underneath my feet. My learning and growing were imperative to who I am and where I’m at today.
God also used YWAM as an elastic surface that would launch me toward His calling on my life and the next journey that He had for me.
When I came to the Discipleship Training School in the fall of 2014, I had a lot of Bible knowledge. I had grown up in the church and a good Christian family with parents who taught me the word of God and interceded for spiritual growth in my life. My biblical and theological knowledge were the building blocks to the firm foundation for my walk with God. During my DTS, I grew in my faith exponentially and God took my knowledge of him to the next level. All the building blocks that I had acquired throughout my childhood and early teen years were surrendered to the hands of the Master Builder, Jesus. He took them and formed a solid foundation. He got rid of the crumbling foundations of self-righteousness and moralistic pride, and laid a foundation that will stand the test of time. It is on Christ the solid rock that I stand. He is the firm ground beneath my feet.
With a desire to continue to pursue God and grow in my faith, I returned to YWAM Louisville for a School of Ministry Development (SOMD).
It was during this time that God was preparing me to be launched.
God had given me a passion for seeing teens be transformed by Christ when I was in high school. I began to share the love of God with those around me and step out boldly to represent Jesus to my peers. As God began to work in the lives of students in my high school and the surrounding school districts, my passion to serve God only grew. Even without knowing exactly where or how God was calling me to serve Him, SOMD was a time of equipping myself for a life of youth ministry. Sitting under the instruction of teachers from around the world, I was able to learn about how to prepare and present a sermon, counsel those in need, lead myself and others, and be a catalyst for spiritual transformation in the lives of those I meet. All of this was the work of God to prepare me to be propelled into ministry.
God used YWAM as a firm foundation and as a launching pad. Each day that I lead a Bible Study for the youth of my church, preach a sermon to my congregation, counsel a teen through a rough time, or organize an outreach to the community, I do this as result of the grace of God and the foundational launching impact of YWAM in my life.
Austin Horning is a former student with YWAM Louisville. He has a passion for seeing young people transformed by Jesus. He is happily married to his high school sweetheart, Janelle. Together they have served the Lord in youth ministry. Austin desires to passionately pursue God and be an accurate representation of the character of God to those around him. In 2018, he was an Associate Pastor at Groffdale Mennonite Church in Lancaster, PA and a speaker and worship leader for youth conferences and events. Currently, Austin and Janelle are taking steps to be launched into missions long-term!