A Fresh Start
I think it's time for me to rethink how I am writing these updates. I normally hit the highlights of what events are going on in the ministry as a whole, or in my personal ministry, but I don't think that gets you a great picture of what FOCUS is really like. While God does use those big events to do some cool stuff, so much of what makes campus ministry special is the day to day. It's the relationships, the conversations, the growth that we can see in people. So instead of just updating you on what is going on that month in the ministry, I want to share more about what I am personally learning, and try to give you a better insight into what FOCUS is actually like. So bear with me if this gets off to a rough start, and if you have specific things that you would like to hear about in these updates, please let me know!
What God has been teaching me lately:
I've been thinking a lot about our personal walk with God and it's importance in ministry. I see so many of our student leaders trying to rush on ahead and go about on their own strength. While I admire their determination, with even a couple years under my belt I can now see how pointless it is to not join in on what God is doing but rather try to do our own things. Our Lord is the one doing the true ministry, the true work, and we are just joining in on that. If we don't take time to slow down, focus in on Him, see where He wants us to go, and what He wants us to do, all is for naught. I've become increasingly convinced that the more time I spend with God and investing in my relationship with Him, the better ministry I am going to do, and I've been trying to do my best to lead my guys in that as well. With the caveat that Jesus didn't spend all of His time sitting around in solitude with God, although He did that on occasion. Jesus was on the move, relying on God as He went out and did ministry.
For our first peer team (all the small group leaders I oversee) meeting of the semester we spent a good half of it doing this simple devotional I prepared. The all seemed to really enjoy it and find it incredibly valuable, so if you want to try it out, here it is:
Recall a time you felt keenly aware of God's Presence
Read: Jeremiah 29:13, Psalms 139:7-12, Galatians 5:16-18, Matthew 18:20, 1 Corinthians 3:16, and 1 Kings 19:11-13
Listen to: Not in a Hurry by Will Reagan
Reflect: What is Lord is laying on your heart from the verses and song? How do you feel like you "rush on ahead" and how can you avoid it?
Something cool God did this month:
Winter Camp was amazing, like always. Every year we get all the campuses to get together and go out to Sky Ranch for a weekend camp. John Stackhouse was our speaker this year, and did an absolutely fantastic job with the topic "Confronting the Zeitgeist." We had roughly 80% of our students come to the optional Q&A with him instead of playing games or doing whatever else they want. I feel like that just shows what kind of students we have in our ministry.
One of the most powerful parts of the weekend for me though was our worship service on Sunday night. We did what we call a lament night. Opening up a space for people who are going through a hard time, and don't quite feel like singing all our happy songs. We had some students share stories about what they have been struggling with in their life, which were incredibly powerful. Although people have mixed opinions on the night, I think the Spirit moved in a big way. I was in the prayer area after the service, and it was one heck of a whirlwind. I wish I could tell you all the things that students opened up about that night, and all the things I got to pray for people over, but I think it would be a breach of trust to do that. You'll just have to trust me when I tell you it was absolutely stunning what God did. It will certainly be a Winter Camp I will never forget.
Focus at Winter Camp this year