Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Matt's May Missive

As we close out the semester we are preparing for many of our summer activities as well. Our summer plans include sending a group of almost 100 people to Bellingham, WA for a week-long college leadership conference (SICM), combined summer FOCUS with all of our different campuses, and School of Ministry. We started School of Ministry for our students to have opportunities for deeper spiritual/theological education since they lack this element at the secular schools they attend. Additionally, here are a few of the things going on:

Pizza Theology

This is an event we do once per semester about a broader topic that can't easily be covered in a sermon or sermon series. It's also a great way of bringing our individual campus ministries together for fellowship. This semester we talked about Heaven, Hell, and everything in between. I actually missed it this time so I don't have anything to share about it! You can listen to the recording if you're interested, which is what I'll be doing :). Just a fair warning: it's nearly 4 hours of audio.

Field Day

Each semester this year we hosted something we referred to as a BOYF (bring your own friend) event. It's a part of our outreach efforts, encouraging our students to invite people they know who wouldn't normally come to a Christian event to something nonreligious. Our event in the fall semester was a Halloween party which had probably 200 people in attendance. The field day was less successful, but we are still experimenting with how to go about this! The cool thing is both of these events allowed our community to welcome outsiders in and give individuals opportunities to develop new friendships in the context of our ministry.

Spring Formal

This is essentially our end of the year celebration to close out the year. We honored the people who have served in our ministry as well as those graduating, reflected on the past 10 months, and looked to the future with how we'll build on the spiritual foundation laid this year. There was also lots of snacking and dancing!

You may remember me talking about Sarah King, my current peer staff person, leaving the Denton FOCUS staff to plant our new ministry at UTA in the fall. Well I'm really sad that she is leaving because it means we'll see each other a lot less. We took a picture at the formal to commemorate our time together:


We are just two weeks out from the departure for our SICM trip! This is such an exciting time because of the opportunity we get with potential new leaders. Going on trip, even at a basic level, allows you to learn so much about who a person is. It's also an opportunity for our student leaders next year to start building relationships with each other because so far they've mostly only developed deep relationships in their cores. Now they will be on long plane rides and car rides together, staying in host family houses together, spending free times together, etc. They'll have many opportunities to get to know each other and talk about what they're learning throughout the week. It's within this environment that the students will be trained all week on how to effectively minister to their peers on the college campus and make disciples of Jesus. This isn't just another camp or conference where people get a spiritual high. We believe sending our students here is a life-changing event only because it's a starting point to equip them to go back out into the world, even outside of college, and be spiritual leaders. Each year I post some testimonies of students who attend so you can hear their takeaways. Here are some from past years:
2014 & 2013

Immediately following SICM I will be attending a theological school (Regent College) in Canada for two weeks with a few of my fellow FOCUS pastors in an attempt to further our education on Biblical thought. I'll be taking the Gospel of Matthew with Rikk Watts, who we are hoping will come speak at our winter camp this coming January. One of the things I most appreciate about Rikk (as I've listened to a few of his classes via audio recordings) is his passion for God. He's one of the more expressive professors I've ever heard and often mixes preaching into his teaching. Please pray that the Lord teaches me more about Himself through this class and helps us to develop a relationship with Dr. Watts.

Last time I said I would give some thoughts on outreach over the past month. Obviously that hasn't happened. However I have a decent sized draft written up. Every time I start working on it I keep editing or adding to it so at some point I'm just going to have to decide that it's done. Anyway, I just wanted you to know that it's still coming - I haven't forgotten about it!

Please being praying for the things on my prayer list on the left. I appreciate your prayers so very much! Thank you for your support of this ministry.

Yours for the Campus,