Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Great Winter Camp and Saying Goodbye

We had an outstanding time at Winter Camp over the extended MLK weekend.  Brady Bobbink came down from Bellingham, WA, to share with our students about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives and community.  You would have loved watching the students worshipping, playing, listening, and serving over the weekend.  The very first night they had a cheering competition for each of the 6 schools represented...except the competition was to see which school the other five could cheer for the loudest!  So our smallest groups, working hard to see God's kingdom take root in new places, got the loudest cheers.  It brought to mind Romans 12:10, "Honor one another above yourselves." Throughout the weekend, students boldly stepped in front of the community to minister, not from their strength and preparation, but from their weakness and fear, and the Spirit moved powerfully.
The UTD students whooshing.  Altogether around 430 people were at camp.
Brady shared so many powerful truths and challenging thoughts about the Spirit, what it means to be a Spirit-filled person, and what it looks like to love one another with Spirit-given gifts.  I can't even begin to capture all of those here, but if you're interested, you can find his talks here.  But on Saturday morning, he asked the question, "Why do revolutions fail?"

As someone committed to revival, renewal, reformation, and kingdom revolution, I leaned forward to hear what answer he would put forward.  He proposed two reasons:
1. "They fail to grasp how long it's going to take."  We all like the idea of quick, easy, cheap, painless change.  We balk at the reality of staying in the process, paying the price, and making the necessary sacrifices.  Even if Jesus' followers thought His mission was nearly done when He came back from the dead ("Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"- Acts 1:6), He knew that they would need His continued power and presence through the Holy Spirit to take the mission to "the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
2.  "They don't equip and train their followers effectively."  This is what Jesus spent all His time doing, and it's what we spend all our time doing in campus ministry.  Raising up leaders who can raise up leaders is the key to seeing this through.

I hope you'll reflect on these two pitfalls in your own life and ministry.  Change is hard, and sustained change is even harder.  My prayer is that our partnership would produce lasting change for good in you, in me, on these campuses, and in the lives of thousands of students in the years to come.

One last note: one of the hardest parts of campus ministry is consistently saying goodbye to students as they graduate and move away.  I got a letter from an Indian international student who graduated from UTD in December and is moving away for a job this week. I wanted to share a few encouraging lines with you. "It's amazing how God works with different people. I guess I had to learn a lot about faith in a foreign country. When I chose UTD I really didn't think it would have a significant impact on my spiritual growth. I guess I was wrong... I will always be grateful for this community and the friends I have here. It has been a great two and half years." Thanks for helping make this kind of impact possible--it's repeated over and over each semester on these campuses.
Saying goodbye at Ignateus' going away party.


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