Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Spring Semester

The spring semester is always so full of exciting milestones marking the growth of our community.  Here are just a few that I can't wait to tell you about: Winter Camp!  SICM Invites!  Apprenticeship Applications!  Fundraiser!

Winter Camp

Winter Camp 2016 was an enormous success.  Each year, students from all of our campuses across the Metroplex gather to worship God together and learn about Him from our guest speaker.  This time around, over 500 students gathered, along with a handful of alumni and special guests.  We sang praises to God and even enjoyed some dancing in our worship.  We heard an inspiring message from Dr. Rikk Watts that helped illuminate how the first-century Jews experienced the ministry of Jesus, and how Jesus incorporated the message of the Old Testament in His life and teaching.

I have heard nothing but positive feedback from our students about their camp experience.  One student told me Rikk's talks inspired her to study the Scripture more deeply and look for connections that bridge the gap between Old Testament and New.  She also said she felt particularly challenged to look with mercy and grace on other people, just as Jesus showed tremendous grace to Zaccheus the tax collector.  Another student found our talk about dating for disciples provided a new perspective on relationships that she hadn't considered before.

Brandon and Garrett do a little role-play to illustrate a point in the dating talk

I don't know what I love more: meeting Rikk Watts or seeing our students learn so much from him!

SICM Invites

Each summer, we send promising young students to the Student Institute for Campus Ministry, an intense, week-long training conference where they learn the skills to minister to other students on their campuses.  The conference is in May, but we are already determining which students to invite to this special opportunity.  We're looking for students who exhibit faithfulness to God and to our community, who are already taking initiative to serve and lead, who humbly and eagerly desire to learn, and who make time for ministry and for their brothers and sisters in our community.  Many of these students will be asked to lead Cores next year, while others will bring the skills they learn to their classes and workplaces.  Please pray for our staff as we decide whom to invite to SICM; God often uses people who don't look like "leadership material" at first glance to do great things in His Kingdom, so pray that our eyes would be open to see God's plans for our students!

Apprenticeship Applications

As you know, I work closely with our FOCUS interns.  What you probably don't know is that we are renaming our internship.  It is now the Campus Ministry Apprenticeship.  We believe that the language we use matters, so I think this renaming will help us think differently about the program.  "Intern" conveys the idea of someone inexperienced, underpaid, and unskilled.  "Interns" make copies, get coffee, and rarely have any input into the way an organization operates.  "Apprentices" work closely with someone who is already engaged in a craft or profession, learning the necessary skills through hands-on experiences.

Our interns have never been copy-making, coffee-fetching, silent lackeys.  They are vital members of our team and spend their time on our staff learning the art of ministry by doing ministry.  Changing our language around this program more accurately reflects what we actually expect from these team members, and it will more accurately covey their level of experience to future employers.

With that said, now is the season of accepting applications and interviewing prospective apprentices.  Please pray fervently that God would send us the apprentices He wants on our team, and that we as a staff would be wise in making those hiring decisions.  The recent graduates applying to our apprenticeship now could be the ministers who carry FOCUS to new campuses in the decades to come.

Keep FOCUS Growing Initiative

We met our goal of $45,000!  THANK YOU for giving generously and for praying for this fundraising initiative.  Some of that money will help pay staff, some will cover our office expenses, some will help us get our students to events like Winter Camp and SICM.  But it's clear that ALL the money raised will help us make disciples for Jesus on all our campuses.