Friday, May 6, 2016

The End is Near

Don't be too shocked by the title, I'm only talking about the school year!  As I write this, many of our Denton students are studying for the finals they will take next week.  After that, some will graduate, others will move back home, and still others will stay in the DFW area to work, take summer classes, and participate in our summer FOCUS activities.

Spring Formal

Get used to seeing those beautiful people behind me and Miriam - those five will all be FOCUS Apprentices next school year!

To wrap up the 2015-2016 school year, we celebrated with Spring Formal.  We take this time at the end of each year to honor our graduates and to thank our Corefas, worship team, and other volunteers who have worked hard for God's kingdom on our campuses.  Pray with me for our many graduates from TWU and UNT who will be starting their careers for the first time.  It's a difficult transition for many of them, but I am confident that through FOCUS they have learned valuable lessons that will help them follow God's path in their futures.

Leader Team

This is our 2015-2016 Leader Team
Don't be deceived!  The silly looking people in the photo above are some of the hardest working, most competent, and deeply faithful college students you will ever meet.  Most of them served this year as Corefas (Core facilitators), working in pairs and trios to lead a same-gendered group of fellow students in the pursuit of Jesus.  A few others served as worship pastors; they spent time each week practicing their music and prayerfully considering how God wants them to lead our community in worship.  A handful of these fine people led the push to start FOCUS at NCTC (North Central Texas College), a community college in Corinth, south of Denton.  They spent time on campus weekly, meeting new people, building friendships, and engaging them in spiritual conversations.

I am tremendously grateful for the hard work and dedication of each person in the photo above.  It has been an honor to work alongside these students, many of whom volunteered fifteen hours or more per week to lead their Cores.  We are already thinking about the composition of our leader team for next school year, and I pray that we find even more students who are just as committed as those above!


In case you don't remember, here's a photo of our SICM students last year!
On May 12, FOCUS will be taking over 100 students from all our campuses to Washington for our annual SICM conference!  SICM stands for "Student Institute of Campus Ministry."  It's a week-long conference packed with intensive classes that teach our students how to reach out to their peers on campus, how to study the Bible deeply, how to teach others about the Gospel, and so much more.  The 100+ students we're taking to SICM have been specially selected for this conference because we believe that they have the potential to serve our community by leading Core or filling other leadership roles.  My prayer is that by the end of SICM, all of those students catch the vision for what God is doing on college campuses and see their crucial role in building His kingdom.

I want to mention a few things about how we selected the students we will take to SICM.  Some organizations ask for applications for leaders.  Others seek out and recruit people who are outgoing, put-together, or otherwise seem like "natural leaders."  In FOCUS, we use the FAITH acronym to determine who could become a leader:

F: Faithful to God and people.  Is this person faithfully devoted to Jesus?  Does this person keep the commitments he makes?
A: Available.  Has this person made herself available by attending community events?  Has he structured his life in such a way that he is available to serve and participate?
I: Initiative.  Does this person take initiative in leading and serving people around her, even without a formal leadership title?
T: Teachable.  Is this person humble and willing to listen when others correct him or share differing views?  Has this person actively sought to grow and improve?
H: Heart for God and people.  Does this person have a passion for serving God and others?  Does this person have an internal motivation rooted in love?

Jesus surrounded himself with twelve disciples who didn't look too impressive to their society.  He didn't pick twelve valedictorians, or twelve all-star quarterbacks, or twelve Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, or twelve Senators.  He chose fishermen and tax collectors, unschooled, ordinary men.  But those twelve exemplified the same qualities depicted in the FAITH acronym.  Jesus chose them, lived His life together with them, and ultimately entrusted them with the task of spreading His message.  As we look forward to choosing our Corefas for the next year, we look for people who possess the same qualities, because they will be entrusted with the same vital mission.

Please pray now for the students we're sending to SICM.  Pray that they will learn and grow as the Spirit works in them, and pray that we as a FOCUS staff would choose wisely as we recruit a team of students who will continue the mission on their campuses.

Moving to Arlington

2015-2016 Denton FOCUS Staff
It has been my honor this past year to work with the gorgeous and gifted people above.  They deeply love our students and pour out their hearts to help them grow.  They work long hours doing work that is sometimes physically demanding and other times heartbreaking.  They don't get paid nearly enough.  And they've spent the year patiently tolerating my nit-picking, sarcasm, and occasional tearful outbursts.  I thank God for these beautiful people and the blessing I have found in them.

Matt and I are now in the process of selling our house in The Colony, and we will move to an apartment in Arlington in June.  There, I will join a new team of co-ministers at UT Arlington.  I'm certain I will love and respect that new group just as much, but I will certainly miss the people in the photo above.  It is with a mixture of sadness and eager expectation that I end this phase of life and begin a new one.  I'm so excited to see what God has in store for me in Arlington!

I ask that you pray for everything going on in the life of FOCUS, and I thank you for your faithful gifts that help us answer God's call to reach college campuses in the DFW area.

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