Newsletter / Issue 35, December 2017

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

By Lizy Johnson


“Teamwork makes the dream work.” This is a pretty well known quote by John Maxwell. But it’s not complete. The whole quote is, “Teamwork makes the dream work, but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team.” I agree with this quote wholeheartedly. Within our Fusion Ministry, I have been placed as the Director. One of my biggest responsibilities in my role is to have in place an awesome Fusion Leadership Team, or a FuLe Team. This year I have been blessed with one of our biggest and most diverse FuLe Teams we’ve had in several years. It has been such a joy to learn how to lead alongside these adults and to pour into our students together.

Sometimes I sit amazed at how well a team can work together, and then I shake my head at myself and laugh when I remember, “Well duh, it’s how the Lord designed it to work!”  Scripture is FULL of examples of great teamwork! We as humans are designed to be part of a team, especially when it comes to carrying and living out the message of the Gospel! We all have different giftings, strengths, weaknesses, temperaments, personalities and yet are united in the same motivation and goal of bringing glory to our Savior. I think teamwork is of great importance in all areas of our lives—our families, our businesses, our communities, etc. But it has been so fun to live out of Romans 12, which speaks vision into how we are the Body of Christ. Bodies don’t function well unless they work together. Fusion in itself is its own body, and would fail to thrive and grow if it did not have leaders working together as a team. There are so many examples in scripture where we see God’s heart for teamwork. I will touch on just three.

In Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 in the Today’s English Version it says, “Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively. If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone and falls, it’s just too bad, because there is no one to help him. If it’s cold, two can sleep together and stay warm but how can you keep warm by yourself. Two men can resist an attack that would defeat one man alone. A rope of three cords is hard to break.” This scripture is more than clear in presenting how much stronger a team is while trying to work out a mission than someone doing it on their own. If I had to lean on my own strengths and weaknesses to pour into my students by myself, I would crumble under that pressure to be the perfect leader for my diverse group of students. Thank the Lord He gives us this vision of teamwork!

We come to see in Mark 6:7 that Jesus had vision for teamwork. To be clear, we see Jesus living out this call to teamwork even before this place in scripture, simply by having disciples. That in itself shows us Jesus’s heart for working together in community. But in this passage specifically, Jesus is sending out his 12 disciples to do ministry, and He sent them out in pairs! He did not expect his disciples to carry out His mission alone. He gave them a vision, a team, and then called them to obedience. And it happened! People were freed from demons, people were healed with oil, and the message of repentance was preached, but done so together by teamwork.

Lastly, and most plainly and yet extraordinarily, it is very clear in scripture that God Himself is a team! He consists of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. HE is a team, modeling the beauty of diversity! There is scripture after scripture where we see this Holy Trinity working together. One of my favorite passages demonstrating this is 2 Corinthians 3:13. Paul is wrapping up his letter to the church at Corinth (which he wrote with Timothy, I may add…his teammate) when he closes out his letter with a final encouragement, reminding his brothers and sisters of who it all comes back to. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” The church was to carry out their work together, though the working power of the perfect Team, the Trinity. They had vision to work together, under the authority of a God that works perfectly together.

 When it comes to Fusion and our diverse team of leaders, we are given ample examples of how this can function well. So how does this practically work within our ministry? Specifically, our mission within Fusion is the same as the New Hope Church mission—Welcome, Equip, Send. The role of the FuLe team is to WELCOME in students to our community; to EQUIP students through our Wednesday night program, small groups, and discipleship; and to SEND the students off well as they graduate and move into the next chapter of their post-high school lives. Our leadership demographic ranges from college students, to singles, married individuals, to soldiers, and even parents of Fusion students. With the different gifts, personalities, temperaments, and life stages of our FuLe Team leaders, the students can form deep relationships with these adults and soak up as much wisdom, guidance, and accountability as possible. According to Dr. Kara E Powell, author of the Sticky Faith curriculum, it has actually been an observed fact that students who are pursued by and engaged in multi-generational relationships and mentors are more likely to remain in the faith after leaving high school. By functioning as a diverse body we can celebrate our own uniqueness and follow how the Lord leads us to pursue our students. It has been such an insane joy to serve alongside this richly diverse FuLe Team this semester. I wanted to give you all a little peak at who the Fusion Leadership team is and why they serve within Fusion. So, without further ado...

Meet our FuLe Team!

Matthew Wendte

Matthew Wendte:

My name is Matt and I’m 19 years old. I’m from Overland Park, Kansas and am a freshman at Manhattan Christian College, studying Youth Ministry. I’ve had a lot of experience working with youth through five summers at Youthfront camps in Kansas City. I like working with youth because they are in an extremely important time of development…and they can grow so much! I also found Christ as a youth, so that time of adolescence holds a special place in my heart. I ‘ve only been at New Hope and volunteering with Fusion since the beginning of the school year but am excited to be serving!

Ellie Musil

Ellie Musil:

My name is Ellie Musil, age 24 with one younger brother in college and one younger sister in high school. I grew up on a farm just outside Blue Rapids, KS which is 40 minutes north of Manhattan. I am a speech pathologist at Meadowlark Hills which is my first job after graduating with my Master's degree from K-State in May 2017. I also completed my undergraduate degree at K-State. My grandparents live here and both parents grew up in Manhattan, so I've spent a lot of time here and feel like I grew up in Manhattan too!

I have been attending New Hope since March 2013 (my sophomore year of college). I was involved with Christian Challenge as an attendee and a leader for five years. I have been working with Fusion since June 2016. I love working with Fusion students for so many reasons, but one thing I am passionate about in particular is seeing students connect their faith with their everyday life and activities. In high school I very much lived a "Sunday & Wednesday night faith" and did not seek God outside of that.

A few random favorite things about me: I love coffee, time in the country, watching and playing sports, and one-on-one quality time.

Rudy Mills

Rudy Mills:

Hello! My name is Rudy Mills. I am married to Keri, and we have two sons, Payton (15) and Silas (13) and have lived in Manhattan since mid-2003. I grew up in Pratt, KS and went to college at Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma City, OK where I met Keri (and earned my degree).  We started out living in Joliet, IL but when it presented itself, we jumped at an opportunity to get closer to family. I have worked for Caterpillar, Inc., for nearly 20 years as a Mechanical Engineer and Project Team lead. My family and I have been at New Hope since 2004, and have served in a variety of roles, including LIFE Group leader, KidsLIFE teacher, and Elder. I started helping out with Fusion in August 2017. I am enjoying the energy and enthusiasm of the group as well as the great questions the teens have as they pursue Jesus.

Courtney Byrne

Courtney Byrne:

My name is Courtney Byrne and I am 20 years old. I am currently studying Human Resource Management at Kansas State University while working for K-State's Global Campus office as a student assistant for the College of Engineering. My home town is Morton, Illinois (the Pumpkin Capital of the World)! My mom studied at K-State, so I had a lot of influence to come here to cheer on the Cats and eat late night donuts at the Varsity Food Truck. I originally went to Illinois State University to study nursing but made the university switch my second year when I felt called to pursue business. I have been attending New Hope since moving to Manhattan this past summer and I have been with the Fusion family since the beginning of this academic year. Working with Fusion has been one of my best experiences in Manhattan. It is so exciting to watch these awesome kids grow in their faith and encourage each other to do the same. I love being around all their energetic and loving personalities, as well as being a positive example in their lives. Helping to teach them is so much fun but what I am learning from them is what has been extremely exciting! I look forward to seeing what God holds in store for Fusion and also meeting all of you soon!

Gabby Reeves

Gabby Reeves:

My name is Gabby Reeves. I moved to Manhattan to study Agbusiness in 2013 and graduated last December. Right now I’m working at Landmark National Bank as a Customer Care Associate, answering a lot of phone calls. I have grown to love Manhattan and the community I have found here during the past four years! I started attending New Hope church in 2013 and started helping out with Fusion last August after I got to know some of the students at Super Summer as one of their camp counselors. It is so fun running around playing games with Jr. and Sr. high school students (who have sometimes seemingly endless amounts of energy) and also getting to sit down and get into the Word together. I am continually amazed at how loving and welcoming the students of Fusion are and am blessed to be a part of this community where God is moving!

Jordan Webster

Jordan Webster:

My name is Jordan Webster. I am a 23 year old fish biologist. I grew up in the US Army, living in most regions of the United States and in Germany, touring the rest of Europe by combination of Boy-Scout-Laden charter bus and by foot. My involvement with Fusion started as a student about eight years ago, during which time I developed a fondness for baking and mission trips. I returned as a Fusion leader to answer this question: How can we as a church prepare to welcome the generation after millennials? In talking with Lizy, I learned that while we wait to see the next generation take shape the best thing we can do to strengthen their faith is to build connections between the different generations. In returning to Fusion, I find that mentoring the students brings me joy, and that their own joy and energy is contagious.

Josh Swanson

Josh Swanson:

I’m Josh Swanson. I’m from Virginia Beach, Virgina and am currently a graduate student at Liberty University for a Masters of Divinity in Leadership. I am also a Captain in the US Army Reserves (prior active duty time was 7 ½ years). I have been actively involved in New Hope since October of 2016. My hobbies include board games, running, working out at the gym, writing, hiking, and shooting. I just started working with Fusion this past fall. While working with Fusion, I enjoy the opportunity to share and listen with students, engage in discipleship, and have fun with them in the games and activities.

Rachel Hobeck

Rachel Hobeck:

Hi, I’m Rachel Hobeck! My husband, Jared, and I moved to Manhattan from Michigan in June so that he could begin working as a mechanical engineering professor at K-State. I’m working part-time as a paraeducator at Bergman Elementary and spending the other half of the work day taking care of my fur baby, a seven month old Labrador/Border Collie named Jax. We were able to get connected to New Hope before we moved here (thanks Ricky Greeve and David Renberg) and jumped right into community this summer. I began working with Fusion at the start of the school year. I love being able to welcome students to community, to be a listening ear, and to be a Christ-filled mentor for the youth. I also enjoy the camaraderie and fun that we’re able to have in Fusion.

David Moreno

David Moreno:

My name is David Moreno and I am 25 years old. I was born in Carrollton, Texas but was raised in Overland Park, Kansas. I have been going to New Hope ever since my freshman year of college in the fall of 2011 when a girl got me to get my butt up on Sunday morning and go to church. I have loved the community here ever since.  I didn’t start helping out with Fusion until I graduated from K-State, so I have been helping out since August of last year.  I really enjoy seeing youth start to grow and think more deeply about God and what it looks like to live their lives for Jesus. Currently I am in the Leadership Development Program at Chick-fil-A, which is a two year program to learn the ins and outs of running the business. I am the night time kitchen manager. So if there was a problem with the quality of your food after 2, I am the guy to talk to! :)

Joe Catterson

Joe Catterson:

Hi! I am Joseph Catterson. I grew up with New Hope and Fusion and was born again at New Hope when I was 15 years old. I moved away a few years ago to the kingdom of the enemy, Lawrence, KS, to get my bachelors degree. While in college I met and married my wife, Olivia Catterson. When we had our first born, Liam Jay Catterson, we wanted to move back closer to family and rejoin the great community of New Hope. We are so excited to be back and more exited to get the opportunity to serve in any way we can.

Lizy Johnson

Lizy Johnson:

I’m Lizy! I was hired as New Hope’s Fusion Director at the end of May, 2014 after being on the FuLe Team for about five years. I am married to the wonderful Nick Johnson and we have a one year old daughter named Nora and a little baby on the way, due in June. I grew up in Lindsborg, KS and came to K-State in 2007. After a fairly non-traditional college path, I graduated with a degree in Family Studies and Human Services with emphasis in youth in December of 2014. Working in youth ministry has been a passion and calling on my life since I was a senior in high school. I absolutely love seeing students thrive in their relationships with Jesus. It is such a privilege to walk alongside a student as they seek to know who God is, ask questions, struggle to find answers, and begin to experience a depth in their own community that has not yet been there. The years 13-19 are my absolute favorite to be a part of and I know that is a gift from the Lord. I cannot wait to see what is in store for Fusion for the rest of the semester!