When Bobby Benavides, a California native, went on a short-term mission trip to rural West Virginia in 2003, he never imagined God would call him to stay and serve there for the next fifteen years. I should say, fifteen years and counting! Bobby has no plans to leave any time soon. It was through this experience that Bobby discovered the profound importance of listening to God and living into one’s unique calling. A few years ago, Bobby wrote Made for More, a book designed to help millennials live the life they were created to live. In this interview, Bobby shares about his call to serve in West Virginia and why we each need to discover that we were “Made for More.”
THIS EPISODE’S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:
- Markus just started a new role as the Interim Pastor of Westmorland Community Presbyterian Church in Westmorland, CA.
- Markus and his family had an amazing time at the Los Angeles Lakers’ first preseason game in San Diego–Lebron James’ first game with the Lakers. Take a look below to see a picture of Markus’ son with Magic Johnson!
- Bobby shares about planting his church, New Community Elkins.
- Bobby’s passion is for people to discover who God created them to be.
- Bobby moved from Glendora, California (a suburb of Los Angeles), to rural West Virginia.
- Initially, Bobby didn’t want to stay in West Virginia, but it eventually became clear that this was where God wanted him to serve.
- New Community Elkins is part of the Evangelical Covenant Church denomination.
- A key moment that strengthened Bobby’s sense of call to West Virginia was a conversation with a teenage boy who told him, “You’re the first person to ever sit down and want to hear my story.
- In West Virginia, one has to be known in order to be trusted. This comes from a history in which coal companies came in with big promises and lots of money, but eventually left, leaving the community with nothing. As a result, local people are slow to trust outsiders.
- Another pivotal moment that shaped Bobby’s sense of call to West Virginia took place when an established family trusted Bobby to take their son to a youth event in Pennsylvania. As a result, other families were able to trust Bobby, too.
- Bobby wrote Made for More because he encountered a lot of young people who had lots of questions about their purpose in life.
- We have been created in the image of God and we are God’s workmanship.
- We have profound beauty within us. God sees the beauty through our brokenness, even when we can’t.
- Social media can make us feel worth less than we really are. But our identity is not rooted in social media, or our jobs, or what others say. Our identity is in God.
- If we’re so focused on what’s to come, we lose what’s right in front of us.
- God says we need to be fully present where we are now.
- “Where you are now is your mission field.”
- “The mission field is everywhere.”
- Bobby shares a story about a young woman who read Made for More and was surprised that he talked about Lil Wayne in a positive light! She also told him she now has a strengthened identity in Christ and wants to serve him.
- Remember whose you are. Your congregation doesn’t own you. The church building doesn’t own you. Your job doesn’t own you. Rest in the fact that you are God’s.
- “Let God be God and you be his child.”
RELEVANT RESOURCES AND LINKS:
- Bobby Benavides
- Made for More: A Journey of Discovery and Purpose
- Searching for More: A 15-Day Devotional Journey
- New Community Elkins
And here’s my son with Magic Johnson! Just look at the joy on that face! If only I could make my son that happy… 😉