Monday, August 8, 2016

It's time to "Mav Up!"

Now that I live in Arlington, I get to see the roller coasters at Six Flags almost every day as I drive around town.  It reminds me of a perfect analogy for my work in ministry: at this point in August, I and my fellow campus ministers feel like we're sitting in a roller coaster car at the very top of the Titan, the ratcheting sounds below us have slowed, and we're about to plunge screaming with delight into loops, twists, and turns on a wild ride.  Summer is almost over, new students are about to arrive, and we're ready to hit the ground running and "Mav up"!  That's what we say here to show our school spirit because we're the UTA Mavericks!

"So what do campus ministers do all summer?"

If you've wondered that question, let me tell you the answer: a lot!

Evangelism displays on campus
UTA has surprised me with the number of students who are on campus over the summer!  There are crowds of new students attending orientations once or twice a week all summer.  We've met hundreds of those new students at the "Involvement Fair," which is the portion of orientation that gives students the chance to connect with existing organizations on campus.  Many of them signed up to receive more information about FOCUS, so we will be inviting them to join our Cores and Thursday Night Fellowship meetings that will begin soon.

There are also many current students on campus taking summer classes, working at part-time jobs in the library and University Center, or doing research in the lab through special summer programs.  Our team has organized outreach events, like the one pictured above, to engage these students in spiritual conversations.  The goal of these times isn't to convert someone to Christ in a single conversation; rather, it's to encourage people to start thinking about the big questions in life and let them know that we are available to help them work through those questions in the context of one-on-one relationships.

FOCUS Staff at our ordination ceremony
Summer is also an important time for our staff, which changes every year.  On August 1, we welcomed seven new apprentices to our team.  They made a commitment to serve alongside us for ten months as they develop the skills of campus ministry.  The biggest task by far in preparing them for the apprenticeship is fundraising.  With coaching and direction from myself and others on staff, they worked hard and asked many people to invest in the vision of FOCUS.  Some of them are still seeking supporters who will pledge to fund their apprenticeship this school year, so please continue to pray for our fundraising efforts.

Mav Stampede

"Mav Stampede" begins on August 22 when new students move into on-campus housing at UTA.  The University hosts all kinds of events for the students to welcome them to campus.  There are informative events about the various departments, events with games and movies, and a ton of free food.  Most importantly, tons of students will be out on campus and open to making new friends.  Our student leaders will take advantage of this opportunity to meet new people and make friends.  Those new people we meet at Mav Stampede events will become UTA FOCUS members, student leaders, and maybe even staff in the years to come.  If we are faithful with this opportunity, I believe God will work amazing things through us.  Please pray for our student leaders as we prepare them for Mav Stampede; pray that they (and we) would have relentless energy and a keen sense of where the Spirit is leading us during this vitally important time.

Please be in prayer for us as we get ready for the roller coaster of the new semester.  Thank you so much for your prayers and financial support!