Saturday, March 1, 2014

March Update

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I am thankful for and encouraged by you! My hope is that in reading the following things you will also be encouraged and excited to hear what's going on at UNT.

Student Institute of Campus Ministry (SICM)

For anyone who is unfamiliar, SICM is a campus ministry training conference in Bellingham, WA, that we send our potential leaders to each year during May. The students will be taught on a variety of subjects including how to lead small groups, disciple students one-on-one and study the Bible with them, develop deep spiritual friendships, do evangelistic outreach on campus, etc. One of the days they will even go out on the Western Washington University campus to engage others in spiritual conversation.

This year, from our six campuses, we have 68 students registered to attend the conference (24 from UNT and TWU)! These are all students who have shown leadership potential and have already been leading in the community to varying degrees. On top of that, several of our staff will be going. That is a lot of people to be transporting across the country so please be praying for our safety and logistics! Even more importantly, pray for the Lord to be preparing the students' hearts to learn and grow in their faith as well as their ability to minister to those around them. Pray that God will use each one of them to do amazing things on their respective campuses when they return home. Also pray that these students will all be able to raise the money to cover the trip cost. If you would like to donate money to help send a student to SICM, let me know.

Check out the testimonies from some of last year's UNT students who went to SICM.

Parent Night

I have to say this might be the event I get the most nervous about each year. There is something about having to stand up in front of all of the students' parents and talk about what our ministry is all about that just puts the pressure on! Needless to say, I pray A LOT leading up to that night and the Lord always blesses it. Coming out of parent night last weekend was very encouraging to me. The prominent segment of the night was when we had our "open mic" time, where any parent or student could share what they have seen as valuable in the FOCUS community. The purpose of this is for newer parents to hear testimonies from people who have experienced it and get a better sense of what we are all about - far better than any message I could ever convey to them. Getting to hear parents and students say so many things about how this ministry has impacted their children or even themselves is powerful. Not only do I feel encouraged to know that God is blessing people through our community, but so do the students and their parents. That's something I love about God's design in Christian community: everyone is edified by lifting each other up.

I also wanted to share a note that I received from one of the UNT parents who emailed me a couple days later. This note, to me, is just a powerful example of the value of campus ministry and the impact that it can have on a person's life. I hope that you are just as encouraged as I am.

Spring Student Initiative (SSI)

For the past few years we have had students from Western Washington University (with the ministry that hosts the SICM conference) come to Texas during their spring break and help us with a week long evangelism project on each of our campuses. This year we will have about 20 students again. Please be praying for each of them as they give up this break in order to reach people for God's kingdom. Also pray for our staff to be able to prepare adequately to provide them a great experience. The students will be here from March 23-29th and will be on campus M-F. I'll provide a report on how this goes next month!


One other thing to be praying about is our prospective interns for next school year. We have 11 applicants and will be making final decisions over the next week.

Thank you so much for being involved (even if you are merely reading this post!) in the ministry going on at UNT. I appreciate your support. The Lord works through you to make what I get to do possible.

Yours for the Campus,

Matt