Wednesday, December 2, 2015

It's Worth It

The 2nd Annual Keep FOCUS Growing Initiative is in full swing.  Thank you to those of you who have already made a donation!  If you haven't heard about this fundraising campaign, please click here to learn more and watch the video below:

In this video, Sarah King, one of our campus pastors, shares stories of the UT Arlington students she spends her time with.  Let me tell you a few brief stories of the UNT students I have the privilege of ministering to:

On a Sunday in November, hundreds of our students gathered for Pizza Theology, a lecture and pizza dinner.  The lecture topic was How to Think Like a Christian, and it outlined a variety of perspectives on epistemology, the sources of our Christian theology, and ultimately how we as Christians should think about issues we face today that are never addressed in the Bible.  A young woman who has been a member of FOCUS since August was there.  She's told me a little bit about her upbringing; she was raised in a Christian denomination that she found close-minded and oppressive, so as a teenager she rebelled against her church's values and called herself agnostic.  In the few months she's been in FOCUS, she's been invited to ask questions and examine her own thoughts about God and the Bible.  At Pizza Theology, she said, "I can't imagine my old church ever doing anything like this.  We were never encouraged to think about things this way."  She had encountered a new way of thinking that both satisfied her desire for answers and allowed for a spectrum of different viewpoints.  Pray with me that she would make the choice to wholly devote herself to Jesus.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, many of our students returned to their hometowns to spend time with family.  One of our young men went "back home" to stay with his parents in another city and realized while he was there that he dearly missed the friends he's made in FOCUS.  He said that Denton has become "home" to him because of the meaningful relationships he's made with other followers of Jesus there.  He even posted an encouragement to other students on our FOCUS Facebook page: "God will make Denton your home if you let Him."  Pray with me that as our students return to their hometowns over the longer Christmas break that they would maintain the friendships they've made and that the break from school would not also be a break from spiritual growth.

I share these stories with you because I believe God is using campus ministry to change hearts and lives.  I believe it's worth it. 

The money we raise through our annual fundraiser and donations throughout the year will cover a variety of expenses, large and small, that help us reach students with the life-changing message of Jesus.  Your donations help us pay for:

- On-campus advertising.  Many FOCUS students and alumni (including my own husband, Matt Schlitz), have come to FOCUS because they saw a poster on campus advertising our meetings. 
- Focus on Jesus books.  FOJ is the curriculum we use to help students study the Bible one-on-one together.  The cost of one booklet is small, but the value of a semester spent studying the Bible with a caring mentor is priceless.
- Counseling services.  Some of our students face severe mental and emotional struggles that require the help of a trained counselor or psychiatrist.  When students can't afford to pay for these services, FOCUS helps them get the care they need.
- Camps and events.  We believe that disciples grow in their faith best when they're connected to a community of close friends who are also disciples.  The camps and events we host help students build and strengthen friendships that provide support and encouragement as they pursue a life devoted to Jesus.
- As well as many other needs that come up.

If you want to keep hearing stories like the ones above, please consider giving to the 2nd Annual Keep FOCUS Growing Initiative.  Your investment can help change lives.  It's worth it.