Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Matt Clark's November Update

The semester is nearly over already! I can't believe how fast the time has gone by, but there is really only a bit more than a month until the students are done with their finals. Please be praying for them as they finish up the first half of the school year.

Here are a few other things to update you on:

Fall Camp

This was our best Fall Camp yet. Part of that is because I've now planned this event a few times and the staff I have is a little more experienced in event coordination than my previous teams, but the major factor I noticed was just how invested our student leaders were in making camp successful. They didn't let responsibility fall solely on the staff. They didn't simply focus on how they could individually enjoy the experience. They took ownership. And their involvement makes Fall Camp what it is. The sole purpose is to help newer members, who have developed friendships in their small groups, now integrate into the larger community. Without the student leaders leading by example, this goal might be impossible.

Additionally, God's Spirit was active throughout that time working in so many students' lives. Our theme was centered around how God works through community and individual relationships to change us. One girl who has been a part of our ministry for a year and a half now decided to change her major while at camp in response to a conversation with a friend. Her reasoning was because the intensity of her degree plan wasn't allowing her to be involved in spiritual community. She had asked herself what would be more important to pursue in the long run?

Another student confessed to me some burdens he had never shared with another person before. He was terrified to do so, but knew that God wanted him to stop trying to deal with it on his own. I'm glad he finally took initiative to seek help.

And there were many more examples like these!

Leadership Conference

You may have noticed we put a lot of emphasis on leadership in our ministry. Well, that's no accident and it permeates through our entire family of churches. Last weekend we had our annual leadership conference (involving our three churches and nine college ministries) which focused on the theme of friendship. Our main goal each year is to continue casting the vision of making and maturing disciples - actively advancing the mission Jesus gave to us through our predecessors at the end of Matthew's gospel. We want to call everyone in our body to be leaders in this mission, just as Jesus does.

I'm convinced this is critical. If we don't call each person in the community to leadership, how can we expect the mission to move forward and expand? This has a lot to do with how much our student leaders invest in their peers. We call every person in our ministry to a high standard, but it's simply what Jesus called people to in His teachings.

The theme of friendship was perfect because of how much our culture struggles with developing healthy friendships. Many things contribute to this, but the point is that without developing real relationships with people it's difficult to actually teach people how to relate with God. How can we expect to be successful in reconciling men to God when we avoid the specific design He intended for us? He made us relational beings in His own image. If our culture doesn't see friendship as a significant thing, then how much less significant does a relationship with God seem to them? And I think we also see this in the passiveness of so many Christians today. So much of what is said in Scripture teaches us who God is and how to treat other people. It's no wonder Jesus says the greatest commands are to love God and love people.

2nd Annual Keep FOCUS Growing Initiative

I had mentioned last month that we are raising funds again this year for the purpose of helping FOCUS in our efforts to continue expanding the Kingdom! To be connected to what's going on, you will need to visit our Facebook page (click the link below) and "like" our page. That will allow you to see the promotional videos we post on your own Facebook news feed later this month.

These are some of the guys I mentor at UNT!
(Left to Right: Bradley, Jason, me, Sergio, Pedro)

If you would like to pray for any, or all, of our campuses, we have compiled a simple prayer for each one below. We appreciate all of your prayers and I especially want to thank you for supporting what we do on the college campuses - it makes all the difference!

Yours for the Campus,