Cay Johnson: A Growing Drive to Serve

When I first met Cay, she was so eager to grow in her faith. She didn’t see her potential as a leader, but she was eager to be a participant. She just wanted to show up anywhere someone was discussing the Bible. As she read through the Gospel of Matthew for the first time, she kept a list of questions, and then we would meet to discuss them.

Eventually, Cay began to realize that maybe she could serve as a student leader in the CCO college ministry out of the church, Delaware City Vineyard. Even as I tried to nudge and empower her to lead, she would often text me questions that showed her tendency to doubt and second-guess herself. 

In the two years since then, Cay now serves faithfully at our church. She coordinates rides for other students, she helps me lead a college small group, she participated in the Ocean City Beach Project, and she has started discipling other students. Now instead of texting me questions, she sends me updates. She has grown more confident in who she is in Christ and more confident about the ways God can use her to influence others. It’s truly a beautiful thing to witness.

—Tyler Charles, CCO Staff

I came to Ohio Wesleyan University as a Christian, but now I have a relationship with the Lord. 

Growing up, I would only read the Bible in church when I was told to open it, but besides that, I didn’t know much about it. College is where I had a chance to ask questions I’d always been afraid to ask. 

I first met [CCO staff member] Tyler Charles at freshman orientation. I discovered that he was genuinely interested in who I was as a person, which was new for me. I had always tried to be someone I wasn’t so I could look like a better version of myself. But Tyler didn’t care about that. He just cared about me.

These past few years, Tyler has taught me how to lead others in discipleship and to be bold and confident in who God says I am. He invited me to sit in on leadership team meetings. Then I shadowed a student leader and co-led and eventually started my own Bible study. Now Tyler and I discuss  topics for the group and I lead on my own.

Tyler also introduced me to the CCO’s Ocean City Beach Project as a place where I could get leadership training and learn more about how to read the Bible. I went last summer, and I’m going back this summer as a student leader.

When 28 college students are living and learning together, they aren’t going to let you get away with anything. We challenged and encouraged each other. We had jobs where we shared our faith with our co-workers. We were taught how to lead Bible studies and were encouraged to be hospitable. We worshipped together, and we learned to love the church. I was blown away by the things I learned. 

Because I have a stong science background, I thought I wanted to be a genetic counselor.  But then I realized that what I was really interested in was counseling. Why do we make decisions even though we know they’re the wrong ones? That led me to psychology. 

Now I find such joy in learning more about Jesus through my coursework. Every day when I go to class, things stand out even more to me that draw me closer to God. 

Now I know who God says I am. Before, I didn’t know that I am a daughter of the King. I didn’t know that I have worth and value that isn’t reliant on other people’s opinions. Because I didn’t know that, there were consequences to the choices I was making. I was chasing after things that couldn’t give me meaning.

I want to serve the Lord by going into ministry. I want to lead people to Christ! I want other college students to know that the Lord can use them beyond anything they dream. God can take a mustard seed and grow it into something beautiful.