Sunday, September 30, 2012

Enjoying my new flexibility

We just finished up a weekend of fall retreats.  I wish you could have been there because you would have been so excited to see them.  We took record groups to both the UTD/Richland retreat and the UNT retreat.  Richland took about 3 students last year but around 15 this year.  The overall UTD/Richland count the day before the retreat was 145 (compared to 96 last year).  That included a LOT of international students.  They brought so much to the weekend, and we are delighted to have them as a part of our community.  It's so exciting to experience a small piece of the Bible's cosmic vision as people from multiple nations and languages come to learn about God.

Bill Bright (1921-2003)
I'm spending the bulk of my time supporting, equipping, and encouraging young campus ministers, but I've also carved out time to work on starting a faculty fellowship at UTD.  My heart is growing for this ministry as I begin to see how faculty can ultimately play a much larger, more long-term role in seeing kingdom transformation on these campuses.  Compared to student leaders, they have far more influence, a natural venue to influence students, and are often still on campus decades later.  Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade, said this toward the end of his life: "If I could start Campus Crusade for Christ over again, I would begin by working with professors."

Regardless of their role in the university and society, professors are humans who face the same challenges, opportunities, disappointments, and tragedies that all other people do.  For various reasons, they are often isolated and disconnected from spiritual community.  And on secular campuses, Christian professors may feel there is no appropriate forum for their faith.  I hope you'll join me in praying for leaders to step up to this ministry and for spiritual renewal and revival on campus.  And if you know any professors at one of our campuses, let me know!

I read this quote from Eugene Peterson (translator of The Message) the other day about another minister:

"Faced with the massive moral disintegration of our times, we are commonly intimidated into passivity. [He] is not intimidated. He doesn't take on the entire ruined culture--he simply stakes out a modest claim and begins. But it is exactly this kind of obedient beginning that so often turns out to have large Kingdom consequences."

I found that encouraging for my ministry, and it is my prayer for yours--that you will not be intimidated by the spiritual forces ravaging our culture, but that you will stake out your own modest claim and start something beautiful. I'm so thankful for the way each of you has blessed my life!

A silly group picture from UNT's fall retreat this morning.

Developing Our Pastoral Team

We are back in August and ramping up for the school year! We have an amazing pastoral staff, and an outstanding group of student leaders. At...