This month I spoke with Wade Witcher. Wade is a senior at OSU and is one of our awesome young adults in the 18.22 Group. Wade is an inspiration in the way the he actively and passionately pursues being a follower of Jesus. He brings light to those around him wherever he goes and within his answers to these questions there is a great reminder and call to the church.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve seen God do in your life?
God has consistently proved his consistency to me. Life is not predictable, but Jesus is. In my greatest moments of trial, he has been the greatest provider. In my greatest disobedience comes his unfathomable grace. When I have felt the deepest pain his love still surrounded me. I have felt lost and abandoned by the Lord only to look back later and see he was the only thing carrying me through. He consistently provided when I was without – almost always in spite of my wandering heart. His consistent thread of Grace has been the most daunting symbol of his love in my life.
What place does religion have in your life?
One of my favorite things Jesus says is that he did not come to abolish the law but fulfill it (Matt 5:17). I try and keep my religious disciplines as natural outpouring of the love I have for my Creator and not just checklist activities. Religion is no longer the bondage the Pharisees were entangled in but rather a freedom to love recklessly. I try and keep my religion simple and modeled after 1 Corinthians 14:16, “Do everything in love” (NIV). I believe loving people is never the wrong response in life. While religion gives us a great framework for tough questions, I think Jesus showed us that while religion was a life we live, it is not the reason we live that way. Jesus’ why was not enforcing rules, but love. I love how the Messiah depicted this when he performed miracles on the Sabbath in front of religious leaders who cared more about print and code than hearts and souls. I think religion is the second biggest compass for my life behind the Spirit.
What part has Asbury played in your walk with Christ?
Asbury has been such a great place to call home when I felt more like a religious vagabond than a son of the one true King. Our youth ministry was such a great place to land when school made me feel lost. Having an identity was a far-fetched concept as a teenager and without Wednesday night worship I may never have found security in my true identity. I am thankful that while I have been in college, we have doubled down on supporting our youth ministry at my home in Tulsa. Life then felt directionless and it only gets worse in college. Asbury helped point me to the lit pathway we call a life with Jesus. I get to see every day how blessed I was to have Asbury as a family while I am in college and continue to see people walking in darkness looking for the lit path they have chosen to reject. The patience, support, and love shown to the community of guys in my grade by the male adult small group leaders we had continues to have an impact we have not forgotten. Those men were rock stars in our eyes and we still say things like, “I want to do something like … when I grow up.” I do not think there has been one name from the many who supported us I have not heard. If Asbury did not give us those role models, I am not sure where any of us would be today.
What do you see as your current ministry?
Currently my ministry has not changed but my location has. I think ministry is just a fancy word for loving the people you interact with on a daily basis. My current ministry is loving the campus I am at while focusing closely on those I live with. College is a beautiful time to be an example of the Christian walk without getting lost in judgement and exclusivity that is tied into that stereotype in modern day. We are all broken vessels, but I believe the biggest battleground facing my generation of believers is fighting the generalization that being a follower of Jesus means worshipping your own self-righteousness more than a Hebrew carpenter. I truly believe the enemy is trying to push against this agenda among believers and set it as a fact of life for non-believers to keep them from true freedom and grace. Jesus plus nothing will always be the formula for a fulfilled life and I believe that loving people so radically and gracefully that the thought that all Christ followers are judgmental hypocrites becomes a foolish assertion when culture has to notice how we love and care for society’s outcasts just like the Messiah did. My ministry is loving people in a way culture says is “dangerous” so that my heavenly father gets more attention and praise as a result.
What do you want to see God do at Asbury?
I have always loved seeing the big green steeple as I drive through Tulsa and knowing that underneath that steeple was where the people who loved me were. I want every person in Tulsa to have that, or at least that hope. I want God to continue to make Asbury a place where the hurt, broken, and lost end up to find healing and grace. Someone who was really smart once said it is not the healthy who need doctors (Luke 5:31). In that sense I want God to make Asbury the best hospital in town. I knew that every time our doors opened, I could walk in and find love and grace, but that made me lucky – not normal. There is a high school right across the street that I attended and loved with my full heart, but it is full of broken lost students desperate for what our community and Savior offers but too fearful of rejection from our church. I want to see God get them and the rest of our town across the street and experience what community in His name could look like.
What message would you give to those at Asbury?
Never stop our great support of our mission’s program. I have loved all programming we have offered, but every spiritual “milestone” I can trace has happened when I have been serving God with an Asbury community attempting to spread the Gospel further. I think it is the most fabulous way to take up our cross and love others and if any of our church has not experienced it, I think they absolutely should. The monetary donations are incredible and the support our church offers has blessed my life so much, but even more than that the leaders I had as a high school student taught me more about generosity and sacrifice than those gifts. It is one thing to hear and talk about being a man after God’s own heart, but it is life changing being 17 full of pride and seeing a working professional lay down his pride to serve his Creator. It absolutely changed my whole world view and inspired me to live for something worth a little more than American materialism. I plead our church would engage in and never give up on the life change that happens through our mission’s program.