Thursday, June 7, 2012

June Update

I apologize for not posting until now.  We have been so busy making sure that our summer ministry activities are planned lately that we decided to postpone our blog entries a week.

Well...the summer is off to a great start!  Last week we had our first combined summer FOCUS meeting at a local church in Richardson.  They are graciously letting us gather there for free.  We have a sermon series planned for the students based around the idea of being “fired up” inspired by what Paul says in Romans 12:11 (NIV) – “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”  Each week throughout the summer a different staff member or intern will be delivering the message on a different topic to be “fired up” about.  Last week the sermon was an introduction to the theme and this week one of the other interns will speak on “fired up” worship.  There will be several other topics such as being “fired up” about the mission, having “fired up” relationships, prayer, etc.   

Our UNT (the University of North Texas) chapter is having its own separate meeting on Monday nights up in Denton for the students who can’t make the potentially one hour drive to Richardson and back each week.  To start my transition to UNT I will be leading that meeting with Brandon, the director or our collective ministry.  We are going to work our way through Philippians with that group to see how God’s message inspired that city and how they responded to it.

In the picture below the students are working on an exercise that tied in with the lesson on building strong foundations quickly.  We had talked about how Paul had stayed in Philippi for probably only a few weeks and laid a foundation that lasted.  Just try to understand the magnitude of that: imagine starting a church with some people who just learned the gospel for the first time in the time frame of a few weeks and then leaving them on their own.  Talk about discipleship!  So the implication for our students was to learn how to lay a foundation as an expert builder in their ministry to other students as Paul does with so many of the churches he started and ministered to.




Our School of Ministry discussion groups started last week also.  This is something we offer each summer to provide some sort of graduate level class on the Bible since all of our campuses are secular.  This year we have given the option of doing an Old Testament Foundations or a New Testament Foundations course.  The students listen to the audio recordings of lectures from Regent College (a school in Canada) and meet once throughout the week to discuss with their group.  I’m leading one of the discussion groups on the New Testament and so far it has been pretty interesting.  The professor has lectured for nearly 5 hours so far and is still essentially on the introduction.  He has a tremendous wealth of knowledge, but balances it with an incredible passion for Jesus.  Please pray that this challenges the students to think differently about how they approach Scripture and use it.

SICM (Student Institute of Campus Ministry) a couple of weeks ago was awesome!  If you don't remember, that is the conference in Bellingham, WA we take our potential leaders to each year so they can spend time learning how to do campus ministry.  I think it says a lot when the students hear the same messages they hear back home from the ministry leaders in Washington.  It gives a greater sense of vision and unity of the Church at large.  This is probably the biggest reason we like to send students to SICM.  UCM (University Christian Ministries), the ministry that runs SICM, has been doing campus ministry for 40 years now so they have a lot to teach our group.  We took 49 students and 5 staff this time!  It’s such a good experience for each of the students because they spend the whole week learning how to disciple other students effectively on their campus back home.  The student who shared his testimony this month on the Staff Updates page talks about the impact of SICM on his life.  I suggest reading it if you have a chance.  The students also get to stay with a host family who provides their meals throughout the week and usually will spend time with them in the evenings.  My host family this year had two kids so my three roommates (all students) and I had an all out Nerf war with them one night.  The cherry on top is that the conference is in Washington State so everything is absolutely beautiful.

What’s really neat is we get to send at least 8 more students up to SICM in a couple of weeks since they offer a conference in both May and June!  Please be in prayer for this group as well.

These are pictures of my host family:



These are some other pictures from SICM:



Please be in prayer for us throughout the remainder of the summer as we fundraise for our ministry.  Our staff has grown in order to adequately support the growth of our students this year.

Thanks again for all of the support you have given.  I can’t say that enough.  I get to see God do a lot in the lives of these students, but it wouldn’t happen without people like you providing prayer and/or finances.  May God bless you for that.

Yours for the Campus,

Matt