Friday, February 1, 2013

February Update

Winter Camp was excellent this year.  As I mentioned last month, Geoff Mumley came down from the Northwest to speak on the New Kingdom (you can listen to the audio recordings from camp by following this link).  He asked the question, "What is the central message of Jesus?"  In Mark 1 it seems that Jesus came to announce the Kingdom of God and call people to be a part of it.  He talked about a kingdom that was here and yet coming still.  John, who came before Jesus, preached about the coming kingdom and Messiah.  John's main message was to prepare for the coming kingdom because the people weren't ready yet.  Fast forward to today and what does all of this mean for us?  Well, God's Kingdom is still advancing and we (yeah, you too!) need to get involved.  Wherever we go let's be people who advance the Kingdom.  That doesn't mean you have to give gospel presentations to everyone you see, but be a beacon of light and help people see the goodness of our God.  Glorify God to people.  Make disciples.
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
- Jesus
Here are some photos of the UNT group at camp:

And here is a picture of all four campuses!

Since camp we have had one large group meeting at UNT (called Friday Night Fellowship).  I continued our theme for the year (Everything New) and added on "Growing up in Christ."  God has made us new, but we start out as spiritual infants.  We can't remain there.  What I want to do is challenge each student's thinking and help them see that they have a need to mature in their understanding of Christ and their faith in God.  In Heb. 5:12-6:1 the author writes to Hebrew Christians at the time, "Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again.  You need milk, not solid food!  Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.  Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings of Christ and go on to maturity."  Let's remember the fundamental teachings of Christ, but use them as a foundation to build on rather than a safe harbor.  It's time for us to grow up.

Around this time each semester we start thinking about new leadership for the following year.  Currently, we are having discussions about who has stepped up and exhibited leadership characteristics.  We are looking for FAITHful people.  Here is a simple way of explaining it:
Faithful - Can be counted on and is consistent.
Available - Can prioritize their time.
Initiative - Takes responsibility w/out being asked; already leading others.
Teachable - Open to learning, criticism, and advice.
Heart - for God and other people.  This ultimately trumps the others.

Each year we try to pinpoint our prospective leaders for the next year in time to invite them to SICM (Student Institute of Campus Ministry; Geoff Mumley is from the ministry that hosts this conference), which is a week-long leadership conference for campus ministry.  We ask our upcoming leaders to go through this training in order to better prepare them for effective ministry as a small group leader and 1-1 disciple maker/mentor.  The sad thing is we are increasing the number of students that we would like to send every year but there are only so many people that volunteer to host students in their homes.  This has forced us to be much more selective in our process of inviting students to SICM.  Last year in May we sent about 50 students between our four campuses and we made up over 2/3 of the students at the conference.  So the point I'm trying to get at is please pray for our discernment in this process!  

Please also pray for Amy and our ministry as she transitions out due to her pregnancy.  It has been such a blessing getting to work with her this year!  I will surely miss having regular time with her and I know the students will be sad to see her leave.  Another thing to be praying for is the next group of FOCUS interns.  We are having a meeting this Sunday afternoon for students interested in applying and will making final decisions on that in March.  Please pray for guidance for the senior staff in this process and the students who are considering the internship.  There are a few other prayer requests on the staff updates page.

Thank you again for everything you do to advance the Kingdom through our ministry.  

Yours for the Campus,