The school year is coming to a close. We will have our last Friday Night Fellowship this week at UNT FOCUS. Our plan is to meet in a gazebo on campus, have "unplugged" worship, and listen to a few of the upcoming interns (those graduating from UNT) share some thoughts on purposefully planning for the summer now that the year is over. Next week is finals and then it's summer time. Most of the student organizations shut down over the summer. We don't, but it's for a few specific reasons:
1) Several students usually stay in town over the summer. Some students have jobs in Denton or their home is too far away to travel to. If their primary body of believers stops meeting during that time, they are basically deprived of their community for about three months! Our ministry does take a break from meeting for a few weeks at the beginning and end and we change things up a bit for summer. We just don't want to give up gathering together for such a long period of time! One interesting thing about Summer FOCUS is that all four of our campuses meet together from late May to early August. Now since Denton is so far away, most students don't like to travel to the big group meeting in Richardson (near the other three campuses). So we have our own UNT Summer FOCUS in Denton. It's neat because it allows us to have a low-key smaller meeting since most of our students are out of town. Last year we had about 30-35 people each week instead of the 120-130ish people we had during the school year.
2) Since all of the universities we work at are secular, we provide theological classes each summer called School of Ministry. We like to give the students an opportunity to study the scripture at a deeper level and be challenged to think about it. Most of the books or lectures we use are graduate level. The courses change year to year, but this year we are offering three different classes: a couple of audio lectures (from Regent College) about the topics of 1st & 2nd Samuel and the Sermon on the Mount as well a book study on "Simply Christian" by N.T. Wright.
3) When most student organizations go dormant for the summer, people are much more likely to show up at the meetings of groups who are still active. This makes summertime a great opportunity for us to meet new people, especially those who may not have normally come to our meetings.
Please be praying over our summer activities, that they will be successful in providing community to those staying in town over the summer, furthering our students education of scripture, and bringing new people into our body that might not have come during the school year.
Another thing quickly approaching is SICM (Student Institute of Campus Ministry). As many of you probably remember this is the conference we take our upcoming student leaders to in Bellingham, WA for an intense discipleship training seminar. It's an experience that can't fully be explained, but essentially the students are in a week-long class learning about how to lead small groups, study one-on-one with other students, what it means to be a disciple, how to engage in spiritual conversations with other people, etc. It's also a great time for the staff to get to know the new student leaders better and for all of them to grow closer as a team. Please pray that the students will learn a lot and go into the next year fully equipped to advance the Kingdom.
Then going in line with our theme for the year of "Everything New" we will be ending the year with plans to plant a new ministry at TWU (Texas Woman's University) for next school year. TWU is right next to UNT in Denton and will be a part of the UNT FOCUS ministry for a few years as they develop on the TWU campus. Currently, we are working on registering as a student organization so we can be at orientations over the summer and kick off the school year strong in August. Please pray that we will be successful in establishing a ministry at TWU and building a strong Christian community at a school where campus life is fairly sparse.
As always, I want to thank you so much for your contribution to this ministry whether prayers, money or even just reading my blog and being aware of what I'm up to. It means so much to me.
Yours for the Campus,