Thursday, March 9, 2017

Matt's March Update

There are a few really neat things I'd like to tell you about this month!

First let's take a look back...

Pizza Theology: "Let's Talk About Race"

Pizza Theology this semester was POWERFUL. Our topic of race was carefully chosen based on the building conversations on race and ethnicity in our country. The core teaching was centered around God's desire from the beginning (and consistently seen throughout scripture) to bless all people. We also looked at some of the major factors in determining what races have power in our world (geographical advantages being number one). The most impactful part of the night was hearing from 13 different people in our community about their various experiences with race and their challenges for us in how to think about race. The main message I walked away with was that I need to listen and understand a person's story before I can pretend to know anything about them. It's too easy to generalize anyone based on how they look outwardly. Taking a quick look at Jesus' interactions with people we see him consistently looking past these deceptive appearances. We see him touching the unclean, befriending the unloveable, and humiliating the "good" people.

Family Night

This is one of my favorite nights of the year! Many of our students' parents and family members visited and we nearly packed out our room that seats just over 300 people. Two things happen on this night.

  1. We get to honor the parents and thank them for all that they've poured into their students. I love getting to talk about students with their parents. It's encouraging to both parties!
  2. Parents and family members get a better sense of who we are as a community and a staff. We get some of our students to share how God has changed them through the FOCUS community and then ask a couple of parents to share how they've seen God change their child during their time in FOCUS. Aftward, we do something mildly dangerous and have open sharing for any other parents to talk about what they've seen. That's when the magic happens - parents are emboldened to stand up and share some of the most touching things. By the end everyone has shed at least one tear. And throughout the whole time we get to worship our God for the great things he has done in these students' lives. It's awesome.

Now looking forward...

Spring Student Impact

SSI is actually a trip that our friends up at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA take to visit a few of our FOCUS ministries. The students come during their Spring Break (Mar 18-25, one week after ours) to do evangelistic outreach on our campuses. It's a really neat week where we get to develop close relationships with the students and interns from Washington as we share the Lord with each other and students/faculty in Denton. The days are long but valuable. It's especially neat that two months later we will get to see many of them again when we take our potential new student leaders to SICM (the Student Institute of Campus Ministry, a week-long training for student leaders in a college ministry), which is hosted by their ministry.

Our community is really looking forward to receiving our friends from Washington though. We love getting to host them - it's always a treat for us.

Here's a video that the SSI team made to give you a sense of who these people are! Please be praying that they are blessed by their experience with our community and reaching out on our campuses.

Apprentice Decisions

We've decided on our new apprentices for next school year! I'm very excited about the group we have coming in. There will be 7 across all of our campuses, but we'll have 3 in Denton this year. I'm really looking forward to this because we haven't had more than one apprentice the past two years and there's something really neat about getting to train young ministers.

Dawn and Rhett are graduating from UT Dallas so they'll be new to the Denton community. Kristen has been a student at UNT for the past few years. Please be praying over these three and the other four apprentices as they start fundraising soon.


Thank you for your continued support of what God is doing through the FOCUS ministries. It's such an honor and a blessing to have people like you to work alongside for the sake of the Kingdom!

Yours for the Campus,


Click photo above to enlarge