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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Echo

Olson 2023 theme draws from John 15

Selk shares heart behind DA leadership

“Make sure Jesus is written about,” senior community development major Kenna Selk said. 

Selk was a discipleship assistant (DA) on her wing during her sophomore year. At that time, she felt that the Lord impressed upon her through prayer the vision she has for the leadership of Olson Hall’s team of DAs this year.

“We came together and felt like the Lord put on our heart this idea of remaining rooted,” Selk said.

The idea the team was inspired by in John 15 is one of abiding in Jesus. Only through that can someone bear the fruit of their faith. Jesus as the source is the foundation of the discipleship vision for Olson.

More than anything else, Selk sees the centrality of Jesus in everything in her life — from her vision of Olson to the people who surround her. 

“There are all these needs … but if it doesn’t start and end at Jesus, we've completely, again, missed it,” Selk said.

As the discipleship coordinator of Olson, Selk helps implement activities that foster environments of spiritual growth. One of her priorities is creating time for students to read the Bible together.

One of the things Selk says that the Lord put on her heart is small groups. She emphasized how people need to get into Scripture in order to see true spiritual change.

“I can’t change people,” Selk said. “The DAs can’t change people … it is only (through) Jesus and yielding to him that anything happens.”

Another thing that each wing is doing is hosting a worship night. Each of the DAs is responsible for executing one of these nights with their floor.

Olson has one each month.

“It's been really beautiful to see the Lord work through that,” Selk said.

Connected to the idea of rootedness is Psalm 1. This psalm describes the righteous man as a tree rooted by streams of water that bears fruit in every season.

When Selk prayed with one of the faculty members before the school year began, this image came up in connection to Jesus being the source of everything that will prosper.

Selk is exploring what it looks like to empower girls to seek Jesus on their own. Her desire for every girl in Olson is to be rooted in this sense.

For Selk, the work does not stop there. One of her passions is community outreach. In her freshman year, Selk started to pray that God would break her heart for the things that break his. 

She said that he did. So much so, in fact, that Selk almost dropped out of college to go into the mission field. However, she said that God impressed upon her the needs of those immediately around her.

“The Lord had been kind of like, ‘Look where your feet are … if you can't even evangelize or talk to people next to you … how are you going to do that overseas?’” Selk said.

In her mind, this does not just mean Taylor, but Upland and Grant County as well.

Selk is also working on a goal-oriented degree that she created with her professors to allow her to focus on studying various topics and bring them together to achieve a common thread. In this case, she is calling it community development.

She hopes to start doing that here at Taylor. 

One example of this is how Third Center Olson is pairing up with the University Nursing Center, the Upland nursing home, so that girls can form relationships and readily serve in needed ways. 

The idea is to implement ways to get girls to look beyond themselves, and the focus is not on solving a problem but on building relationships.

However, for Selk, the one thing that must be central in everything she does is Jesus, and this does not just mean reading the Bible.

“To be honest, like a lot of the churches that I grew up in never were a part of the community,” she said. “Jesus’ heart is for the world, is for the broken.”

Now, every day, Selk invests in discipling those around her. She starts with her DAs and meets with four of them every week.

Throughout her college experience, Selk has seen the Lord put the right people in her life at the right times which has helped push her closer to him. 

Now she is doing the same for others. 

“(It has) been truly a joy to just sit and hear what the Lord is doing in other people's lives,” Selk said.