Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Matt's November Update

Fall Camp report

Our group at camp!

This year's fall camp was maybe one of the best we've had, which actually surprised me a little. Our students really made it what it was, though. Their attitudes and intentionality during the 24-hour period encouraged me tremendously. Reflecting on that weekend, it's obvious to me how much God was at work. Seeing our community invite new students into their fun, their worship of God, their lives, etc. was clear evidence of the Spirit moving among us. I wish there was some way I could allow you to experience it for yourself. The best thing I can offer is a video one of our students put together of his own accord.

It may look like they spent the whole time playing games, but take note of how they interact. I know it's probably still hard to grasp the full effect without knowing who these people are. When I watch it, I see the development of their relationships, old and new, and know that God did that. The first time I saw this video I teared up a little because I was so touched. What a blessing it is to be the Lord's servant, witnessing His work first hand!

Pizza Theology

Our biannual Pizza Theology was this past Sunday! This event allows us to take 4 hours to dive deeper into a subject than we can in a 30-minute sermon. The topic this semester was about how to hear God's voice today. A special bonus was that we had one of our dear friends, David Knebel, from the ministry in Bellingham, WA fly down to speak. Many of our students know him from the leadership training conference (Student Institute of Campus Ministry) we send our potential leaders to each year. And in case you're wondering...the "pizza" part of pizza theology just means that we take a dinner break halfway through to eat pizza - yum!

Alex & Mitchell

Alex, me & Mitchell
Another two student leaders that I get to mentor on a weekly basis are Alex and Mitchell. Like Ben and Bradley, they have decided to prioritize learning how to lead and develop disciples during their few years in college.

Alex was a student leader last year and started out very quiet. His leadership potential was shown in the initiative that he took, his response to challenges, consistent investment in the community, and his concern for others. He has developed a great deal of boldness during that time, though! I'm always blown away by what God can change in a person who is willing to grow. One of the most impressive things from Alex is his self-management. When I assign him things, he does them. Often when asked, he has already done it. He doesn't wait around for me, as his mentor, to tell him what to do - he takes initiative. This is what we need in our Christian leaders!

Mitchell is one of the sweetest guys I know. He is simply a genuinely kind person. This is his first year on the leader team, but he almost rejected the invitation! When I talked to him this summer to talk about the possibility, he told me that he wasn't sure he was really being called into leadership. My question was a gentle nudge: "Do you think that maybe me calling you on the phone and asking you to be a leader might be from God?" I gave him some time to think about it, but the next time I talked to him he was actually pumped about stepping onto the leader team and thought it was exactly what he needed to do this year. I was actually a little surprised! What impresses me about Mitchell is his consideration of things he doesn't necessarily want to believe. He is eager to learn rather than protect his current beliefs and biases.

These two young men are encouraging to me on a weekly basis. I'm so excited to see what God does through their obedience this year!

Closing Thoughts

Danielle and I have been married for just over 3 months now. It's been a great experience so far. I'm so encouraged by how our relationship has developed as of yet. We have pretty strong personalities, we are a little more set in our individuality being married at 29, and have the added layer of working in ministry together (I'm her boss! And ministry is a 24/7 thing). Some might immediately think we set ourselves up for hardship, but I'll tell you that it's been nothing but a blessing. God knew what he was doing when he led us into this relationship. We so often think that blessing comes from pleasant and comfortable things, but it also comes from suffering, hard work, and discipline. That's not to say that I'm suffering in my marriage! I'm merely making a point. Danielle and I knew going into this that it wouldn't be easy, and at times it has had its challenges, but we are certainly better for it. Our relationship is stronger because we've talked through so many of our miscommunications. We have more concern for one another because we try to make time every day to share how we're doing. We grow as ministers as we sharpen one another in the strengths we have over the other. We grow in our understanding of and relationship to God as we learn more of what it means to be one as two individuals. In these ways, and many more, marriage truly is an awesome gift from the Lord.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this! And thank you for your dedication to investing in college ministry. The impact is incredible - God will take these young men and women, who have been trained to lead others in the way of Jesus, to go out into the world and make His name known. That is the greatest ROI this world will ever see!

Yours for the Campus,