Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Beginning Is Near!

My friends,

In just a few weeks there will be thousands of students walking onto our DFW college campuses. Some of these students will be looking to make a difference, some may be focused 100% on their grades and nothing else, some will be directionless and others will be desperate for friendship and a fresh start to their lives. There will be students who are lonely and longing for purpose. Pray that we would be the first people that all of these students meet.

This is especially meaningful to me because when I first walked onto campus for my freshman year in 2006 I was lonely and desperate for anyone to be my friend. In those first few months, I was showered with God's goodness and faithfulness. Men like Brad, Kale and Weston were those first men in my college experience to walk alongside me and show me the heart of Christ. I was forever changed.

Our staff spent last weekend together in Austin for our staff retreat and read, "In The Name of Jesus" by Henri Nouwen. The book was a reflection on Christian leadership and it was very timely and great for our staff to read in this season of ministry. Our society measures successful leadership in terms of the effectiveness of the individual and how 'impressive' and 'influential' they are. In this text, Henri Nouwen offers a counter definition that is driven by communal and mutual experience. For Nouwen, leadership cannot function outside of the community. Pastors are to know their congregation and be known by their congregation deeply. This is especially true as our community continues to grow we want to be a place where every student can know their pastor intimately and deeply. He returns to the idea that we are a 'people' called, not just a 'person' called. When the world sees individualism and leadership through power as the keys to successful leadership, Nouwen argues that Christian leadership in the 20th century will need to be driven by service and involvement through and by the people.

Thank you for your support and partnership. As we enter into the school year, I am in shock as this will be my fifth year of this campus missionary journey. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for praying. Thank you for being a partner. I am unsure what I ever did to deserve such a wonderful group of friends and family to walk alongside me in this but I am grateful to God every day for you. Thank you.
(From left to right) Me, Ryan, Laurence, and Garrett. Ryan (2016-17 Collin College Apprentice) just graduated from the University of North Texas and we're excited to be on staff with him this year! Laurence (UTD) will be starting his fourth year on staff at UTD. And one of my longest friends on staff, Garrett has been the Collin College Campus Pastor these last six years.

This summer, me and some of my Richland FOCUS students got together for a hangout hosted by two friends of mine who are on staff with CRU.

Nick (left) and JD (middle) were both students in our FOCUS ministry. Nick has worked in California the last couple of years so JD and I decided to visit him and hang out for a weekend. It was a blast to catch up!

Our DFW family of churches had an all-church service celebrating our youth camp. I took a photo to show the cross-generational power of ministry and fellowship.

A panoramic photo of our staff this year! I'm so pumped to get to serve alongside these other campus ministers this year!

So this is a throwback photo from my Junior year at UTD (2010-11). Campus ministry is powerful and happens in a very formative and influential time in the lives of college students. I still remain good friends with all of the people in this photo! I can't wait to see all of the many friendships God brings together this year!

I couldn't do this without supporters and partners like you who believe in the mission and help make it happen through your partnership. Please be praying that we'll be well prepared and equipped to make sure every student is invited to core, met up with, and introduced to Jesus! Let's have an awesome year!

Your campus pastor,