Interview with Cionie Lum

December 15, 2020

First up – Save the Date! On the morning of Christmas Eve, we’ll be sharing a very special video message from Tony. You won’t want to miss it.

In recent months, the Campolo Scholars and I have been considering the concept of incarnational ministry. We’ve enjoyed deep and fruitful discussions about what it means to be present and to live out an active faith, modeled after the life of Christ.

I’m excited to share the first of two Scholar interviews: Cionie Lum is a senior from Wilmington, DE majoring in Social Work and dedicated to living her life according to biblical principles and working with her church to impact her community for Christ.

What’s been the biggest surprise, challenge, and blessing for you this year, even in the midst of the limitations and hardships from COVID?

In this season of disruption, I have found what I have always longed for but was too busy to obtain. I desired rest and peace, two simple gifts that come from one place – Him. In the busyness of living and serving, I have found ‘false’ rest and peace. These two things did not exist in my life; how could they when their counterparts existed also? In spite of what we are forced to see in the media regarding the social unrest, rise in unemployment, loss of innocent lives due to being misinformed about might be the lethal disease sweeping through the nation, I have found rest and peace.

My black and brown brothers and sisters may scoff at me, as I found these two things in the midst of the death of innocent black and brown lives who look like me. Rather than protesting with BLM signs in hand, I found myself on my knees, postured in prayer, interceding for those who would physically do what I was spiritually doing — begging for change. I am challenged by the disconnection of friends, and the loss of ‘normalcy,’ but as I shifted my perspective about what this pandemic has been to what this pandemic can be, I found an unusual sense of hope, even in my grieving, even in my loss.

Where do you hope to see yourself, with respect to your calling and vocation, in the next 5 or 10 years?

In the next few years, I envision myself engaging in what one might call the ‘dirty work’ of the church. I hope to continue to stir revival and contribute to the birthing of the church’s spiritual transformation (from hiding within its building walls to becoming the walking church). The work that I currently see unfolding in the church deals with the hearts of man — the brokenness, the idleness, the frailty of the other. I desire to utilize social work to undergird the soulish transformation of the body of Christ. At New Community Church, we are missioned to be a ‘church without walls’. I intend to act as the bridge between the church and those who hesitate to enter. With a call to the marginalized, the oppressed, the ostracized, it is my hope to bring trauma-informed, evidence-based, person-oriented practice to the church, for those who sit in the pews and those who long to.

How can we be praying for you?

As I approach graduation, I simply ask for prayer concerning ‘courage’ to do what we are all called to do, and that is to share the Gospel in the unique ways and places that His Spirit leads us to. I ask for your prayers of courage to go where it may be uncomfortable to go and to do what may be unprecedented and not done before.

Would you prayerfully consider making a special year-end gift to support the work of raising up leaders like Cionie? When you support the Campolo Center for Ministry and the formation of future leaders of the Church, YOU are participating in incarnational ministry.