Thursday, December 29, 2016

Keep FOCUS Growing!

We only have a few days left for our Keep FOCUS Growing Annual Fund. We're trying to wrap up raising $55,000 by December 31. Our monthly giving basically allows us to break even (hopefully!) each year. It's this money given at the end of each year that allows us to expand and do new things.

As we grow to at least 10 total campuses in 2017 (SMU, here we come!), we have bigger administrative needs. An image that's in my mind is that of a train and its tracks. If our campus pastors are the train bringing good news to students, then our admin team are the ones laying the tracks so they can get there. We are planning to bring on our first full-time administrator in January (to work with a couple of other adjunct people) to help support our growing staff of nearly 30 pastors.

We also will need extra resources to reach out on our newer campuses. We don't do nearly as much free food and such as most other ministries I'm aware of, but some of these campuses have very little in the way of campus life, and putting on events can be a great way for us to meet new students who need to know Jesus. And as we expand, having a little extra in the bank allows us to bring on incredible new staff and not worry about whether they are able to be fully fundraised by August 1. We want them on campus full-time as soon as the students arrive, not spending those precious first weeks of the school year meeting with potential ministry supporters.

I know many of you have given to this fund in past years and I am so thankful to you. Without this fund, we would be having a much smaller impact. I ask each of you to pray about possibly giving an extra gift this week, whether it be $3 or $300 or $3000.  Everything you need is at I also ask you to pray that God will provide everything we need. He always has and I'm confident He will.

I wanted to wrap up with something one of our students, Stephanie, shared with the UTD ministry about why she gave to keep FOCUS growing:

Stephanie, one of our UTD student leaders
"Like countless others, I see this community as my family. What it stands for, I stand for: inviting people to find a home for their souls with God and his people. Families are reciprocal: each member contributes what they can for the good of the whole. Somebody cooks, somebody washes the dishes, somebody takes out the trash. Not everybody does equal work, but that’s ok and you do your best. Everyone is cared for. This is one way to think about giving: providing for your spiritual family for the good of the not only individuals but the whole. I see the “keep FOCUS growing” initiative as providing the extra for the strangers who are not yet part of our family. It’s adding extra seats to the table and making extra food for those family dinners."

I love that image--adding extra seats to the table and making extra food for the family dinner. I pray that we all have that effect on God's final banquet.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

You've Gotta Read This Student's Story

I loved reading Sammy's testimony this month. This is why we do what we do!

Sammy (Freshman, Collin College - Spring Creek Campus, Nursing)
"My name is Sammy and I am a freshman at Collin College. During this past summer I went through a dark stage of my life. After a rough break up I was left feeling depressed and alone. On July 27th the depression had become so bad that I attempted suicide, and I didn’t tell anyone about it. A month later I heard about FOCUS through Matt at a Welcome Week event on campus, and after having a conversation he invited me to FOCUS. My core group and FOCUS helped me see I wasn’t alone; they showed me the love of Jesus and it drove me to become a Christian. I’ve learned how much Jesus loves people and how he cares for everyone. I’m closer to God than I have ever been before, and I feel loved in a safe community. God has changed my life through Focus!"

The Annual Fund

The past two years have seen us pioneer ministries on 3 new campuses and reach out to hundreds of new students with the good news of Jesus. One of the main things making all that possible has been our annual year-end fundraiser. It allows us to invest in student outreach, put pastors on campus who would otherwise have to spend time support raising, and generally seize opportunities that the Lord puts in our path. 
The Keep FOCUS Growing Fund will play a huge role in what 2017 looks like as we pray and consider what to do at SMU, how and whether to expand our Collin outreach, how to grow our presence at UTA, and how many of our amazing young apprentices to bring on to our long-term ministry staff. These are important decisions that will have major repercussions over the next 20 years!

So I'd like to ask you to do 2 things:
1. Pray for God to provide richly for the mission to these campuses. He has always given us what we need, and we are confident He will continue to do so if we continue asking in faith.
2. Maybe the Lord would want you to be a part of the answer to that prayer--would you consider giving a special gift? You can go to for everything you need to know.

We'll have our last Friday meeting this week--our Christmas devotional outdoors in the middle of campus. We are looking forward to sharing the powerful meaning of Christmas with each other and with students who walk up and join.
Pray also for our students as they go home for the Christmas break. Many come from difficult family situations, and all of them will have the opportunity to reflect the light of Christ to their family and friends. It can be an amazing time of growth or a step backward--let's pray God moves powerfully in and through these young people.

Thank you for your prayers and gifts and friendship toward me and the students and ministers in this community. You play a crucial role in this mission to the campus.

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...