Saturday, October 3, 2015

Matt Clark's October Update

I'm excited to update you on a few things going on!

One thing is our new NCTC FOCUS community is developing slowly. It can be a little discouraging to the student leaders at times, but building community on a community college is ironically very difficult! Still they have been busy developing one-on-one relationships with students they have met on campus. We are currently planning to have an initial larger group fellowship/worship meeting near the end of October. We'll just have to wait and see how it goes! Please be praying for God to direct us on that campus and to build His Kingdom there through this emerging community. There is no other Christian organization on this we believe God will use us to change this.

Here are some of the students we have been developing friendships with:
Fall Camp is coming up next weekend! This is an event we do every year a few weeks into Fall semester. Now that most of our students have joined a Core group and developed friendships there, we use Fall Camp as a way to help new students integrate more into the larger community. Our returning students even pay a higher cost for camp to offset the cost for new students. I'm very encouraged by how much our community believes in the importance of being unified. Please be praying for these goals to be accomplished: all of our new students will attend Fall Camp if they are able and will be able to develop several new friendships within the larger community.

This week I started my class with the new intern group. Many of the senior staff members teach various classes to the interns throughout the year as a part of the academic portion of their internship. Personally, it's something that I really enjoy because I don't get to spend much time around that group (in Denton we only have one intern, Aaron, and there are 14 total!). What's even more exciting is I get to help them think through the depths of relating with God in my class, titled "Pursuing God." We will be talking through spiritual disciplines that have been practiced by many influential Christians throughout history and work toward incorporating them more and more into their lives. Please be praying for this because what the interns learn and develop in their personal lives has a tremendous impact on our students. We want to constantly be growing our staff and interns to be better ministers.
Here is Aaron! We took a goofy picture of us pretending to be in the middle of an intense mentoring meeting.
This is our weekly Denton staff meeting! These are the amazing Jesus followers I get to work with.

One last thing...

How We Used the #FOCUS140 Money

So almost a year ago we launched our 1st Annual Keep FOCUS Growing Initiative (#FOCUS140) and raised $31,000 to keep FOCUS going and growing!

In the 10 months since then, so much has happened. Together with your help, we:

  • Established a major new ministry at UT Arlington and started groups at both NCTC and TWU Dallas as well. This means we are reaching students on 9 campuses now!
  • Finished establishing FOCUS as a separate church legally, which protects our assets and ensures they will be used for campus missions in the years to come. It also gives us increased flexibility to meet the specific needs of our mission field.
  • Launched a new website to meet administrative needs and better communicate with incoming students.
  • Welcomed 14 new full-time interns, our largest class to date.
  • Trained more than 150 student small group leaders to be missionaries to their campuses!

We are poised and ready for future opportunities because of those generous gifts. We've outlined below (in rounded numbers) how we spent that money. We tried to keep it general, but I'm happy to answer more specific questions as needed.

UTA launch expenses (leader retreat, moving expenses, sound equipment, etc)
Outreach and advertising to new students (for 9 campuses)
Printing FOJ books for the new year (enough for 675 one-on-one Bible studies!)
Staff development (seminary coursework and staff prep days)
Paying for counseling for students (who need it but can't afford it)
New website (design, launch, and first year)
Internship expenses to help fund 14 interns (books, event costs, etc)
Legal expenses and fees as we finalized our new corporation
Prepping 150+ student leaders for the year (materials and meals)

A special "Thank You!" to all of you who gave. Our 2nd Annual Keep FOCUS Growing Initiative will launch in November! Stay tuned for details.

Aside from that, I want to thank you for your continued support of the ministry we do. It doesn't go unnoticed and it is making a difference in the lives of college students from all over the world. One example is the student testimony below. This is a direct result of ministry partners like you (click the image to see a larger version):

Yours for the Campus,