Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Matt Clark's March Update

I'm very thankful for you! I appreciate you taking the time to read about what's going on in the FOCUS ministries in Denton. May the Lord bless you!

Here are a few things of note...

Student Institute of Campus Ministry (SICM)

I wrote some about SICM in my last post but for those of you who are new, it is a week-long conference we take our potential new leaders to every May in Bellingham, WA. Campus Christian Fellowship (CCF), the host of SICM, is a ministry relationship that we have developed over the last several years. They have taught us much of what we know regarding college ministry - they have been doing it for over 40 years!

This year we are excited to take about 115 students from all of our campuses! Last year we had less than 100 people, including the staff. Please be praying for our students to be able to raise the funds necessary for this trip if they aren't able to pay out of pocket. Also be praying that God prepares their hearts and minds for this conference so they get the most out of the experience. This trip isn't intended to simply be a fun experience (although it likely will be), but more of a changing experience that equips each of them to lead and disciple their peers the next year. Additionally, it is potentially the launching point of life-long ministry leadership. That's our vision for these students!

In order to help our SICM students afford the cost of this trip, we are putting together a fundraiser event called Spring Showcase. You may have attended our Spring Showcase last year, but if not, it's a top-notch event. We bring in talent from all across our ministries: musicians, singers, dancers, actors, etc. In addition to the live performances, we will have an art sale in the foyer before the show and during intermission. We have collected pieces from the members of our community with artistic talent ranging from drawing, painting, photography, woodwork, etc. I was blown away by last year's performances and artwork and even had a decent idea of what to expect. This year should be even better because we have made some improvements! There are a few things I'd like to ask you for in order to help out:

  1. Please pray that this fundraiser is successful in providing funds for our students.
  2. You are invited so come out and support the students yourself!
Date: April 2nd
Time: Art sale starts at 6:30PM; Show starts at 7:30PM
Location: North Dallas Community Bible Fellowship

Purchase Tickets Onlineanyfocus.org/showcasetickets


FOCUS has decided to change the name of our internship program to the "Campus Ministry Apprenticeship" in order to better communicate our goals. An apprenticeship (or a system of training a new generation of practitioners of a trade or profession with on-the-job training and some accompanying classroom work and reading) is more accurate in describing what we are doing with these young ministers. "Intern" tends to have a less positive connotation.

Speaking of the Apprenticeship, this past weekend we interviewed applicants for next school year. We have almost made all of our decisions about acceptance and placement, which is very exciting! Please be praying for guidance as we sort through this.

Parent Night

This is one of my favorite times of the year. It's an evening when many of the parents of our students get to experience our community for the first time. I greatly enjoy honoring those parents for everything they have invested in their children's lives and initiating a partnership with them in God's greater kingdom. Each year we have a time of open sharing where students and parents can talk about how they've seen the Lord working through FOCUS in the lives of students. These stories are the real sermon! By the end of the evening I'll have cried (I'm not the only one!) a number of times from the amazing ways God has changed and impacted people. I may never be able to accurately describe what makes this night special, but perhaps you just have to be there.

I'd like to share with you one of my staff member's comments about parent night that they had written to me in their weekly report. I think it manages to further capture what is so special about Parent Night. In her report, this is in response to "A really encouraging thing in my ministry experience this past week was…"
Last year                ’s mom was absolutely against FOCUS and wanted her to quit. I don’t remember how she stayed in the ministry, but I definitely know it was a source of tension. Both of her parents came to our family night on Saturday. They invited me out to dinner with them as well. At dinner they were just kind of talking to me about how scary it is as your kid goes off to college. You just worry what they’re going to be a part of and whether that organization is actually teaching Christ. Her mom actually told me that she was really nervous when                started coming for that reason, and how it took her a long time to listen to her explain what it was about because her mind was already made up. She just kind of thanked me for our work and said she was really glad that her daughter had some place she approved of to go learn about Jesus. They’re also willing to pay for her to go to SICM. I hear a lot of the student's sides of stories, but it was so encouraging and cool to hear the parent's side. Parents just want the best for their children, and it can be so hard to let them go off into the real world. It just makes everything worth it to know that parents really do see what we do here as good work. I love parent night so much. It’s one of my favorite events that we do.
I couldn't agree more. God has blessed me tremendously through the various relationships I've developed with parents throughout the years. I'm already looking forward to Parent Night 2017!

SSI Week

SSI stands for Spring Student Impact (I think!). Some of the students from CCF (the ministry that hosts SICM) will be coming down to Denton for a week of evangelistic outreach on our three campuses. It's a neat experience because they give up their spring break in order to help us reach the students in our city - wow! They will be here from March 19-26 and we will be doing outreach on campus that Monday through Friday from 10am-2pm. Please keep us in your prayers during these days! I'm looking forward to share how it goes in my update next month.

Again, thank you for your investment in our ministry, whether it be prayers, money, time, or anything else. I am blessed to have you as a ministry partner! Please let me know if there is ever anything I can do for you.

Yours for the Campus,


No comments:

Post a Comment