Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Wrapping up the school year

Every May brings mixed feelings for college students and those of us who work with them.  There's the excitement of finishing classes, summer plans, and, for some, graduation.  Then there's the sense of impending separation as people prepare to go back home for the summer, move away for jobs, and just disrupt the predictability of the school year.

That's what I thought as I sat at our Focus Banquet on Sunday evening.  About one hundred of us gathered together to enjoy dinner and look back on the past year.  Brad recounted some of the events we've done this school year, like Winter Camp, which had a huge spiritual impact on our students, and Halloween Party, which was just a lot of fun.  He also thanked many of the people who have contributed to the work God has done in Focus.  Our financial supporters and the staff at Northeast Church have contributed to resources that make Focus's ministries possible.  Our Corefas have led small groups and one-on-one studies for the past year, trying to make and mature disciples for Jesus.  Our E-Team have led our ministry in reaching out to people at UNT and in the community who need to hear the good news.  Our Peer Team Leaders have supported those student leaders with prayers, advice, and friendship.  All of these people have contributed to a ministry at UNT that we can be proud of; our students have grown in Christ and helped others to do the same.

But even as we look back with satisfaction at what has already been accomplished in Christ's name, we must not forget what is yet to be done.  UNT has over 35,000 enrolled students; Denton is also home to TWU, a university of almost 15,000 students.  Many of those students have never heard (or never seriously considered) the good news about Jesus.  Our tight-knit group of faithful disciples in Focus is wonderful, but we have hardly begun to penetrate the campuses in Denton.

Now we are moving into a different phase in ministry.  Many students will be involved in other churches and ministries over the summer.  Those who remain in the Dallas area will be challenged to grow through School of Ministry.  School of Ministry's goal is to give students at secular universities the opportunity to learn and think about theological topics at a college level.  This year, we will do that by going through two classes from Regent College, one on the Old Testament and one on the New Testament.  Those classes will be a lot of fun (for those of us who think listening to lectures is fun).  They will be a chance to learn and grow.  Most importantly, they will encourage students to have a deep love and understanding of God's revelation to us through the Bible.  That growing love and understanding will help us as we strive to tell people about Jesus and make disciples.

As we make this transition, pray that none of us will grow weary in doing good.  Pray that students will grow over the summer and bring the light of God's love into the dark places they will visit.  Pray for the future as we prepare for a new school year, new students, and new challenges.