Thursday, April 6, 2017

Great Things Happening

My Amazing Staff

The 2016-2017 FOCUS Staff Team
This amazing bunch of disciples is the staff I get to work with to impact nearly 1000 students this year. I couldn't ask for a better team! I remember praying for just one more quality person to work with me at UTD, and God has blessed me with nearly 30! I wish I could tell you about every single one of them and the incredible work they do.

Spring Showcase Was a Big Success!

Our Spring Showcase to raise scholarship money for SICM was a huge success! The performances were amazing, around 1000 people came, and we raised about $18,000 in one night! That will go a long way toward helping pay for the trip. We're over a month out and are closing in on having the whole thing paid for. Thank you to those of you who came out and supported these budding leaders!

I'm not sure how well you can see how big the crowd was from this picture, but it was huge!
A Week of Outreach on Campus

The week before that we hosted 10 students and 2 interns from Western Washington University for their annual Student Spring Impact (SSI) trip. They spent the week partnering with our students to reach out to students at UTD, Richland, and TWU-Dallas. They met so many students, hung out with them, and engaged them in meaningful conversations. We've had new people joining cores and having ongoing spiritual conversations because of that.

We've been experimenting this year with outreach activities that better fit with our core values of real relationships and deep community. We still want to have spiritual conversations with people we run into on campus, but we want those to turn into lasting friendships where we can model the love of Christ. As we've tried out outreach based around fun activities like board games and spike ball and coloring books (it's like Welcome Week but in the Spring!), we keep hearing from students who are lonely and have no friends. I'm so thankful that God has put His people on campus and has given us the desire to welcome new friends into our hearts and lives. I can't wait to watch these new friendships bear good kingdom fruit!

The SSI crew from Bellingham sitting on the UTD welcome sign.
Student Testimony

Jon's story illustrates how often campus ministry involves helping young people process life and make plans that will bless them in the future. So many of our young people don't come from families that have the knowledge and experience to help their kids navigate college and career. I love hearing stories like these!

Jon Smith (First Year, North Central Texas College, Web Design)
"When I first moved to Denton, I wanted to find a church group that I could connect with like the one I had back home. I prayed fairly frequently for a church at first, but after a few months I gave up. I started to feel extremely lonely and somewhat depressed without my former church family nearby. A little over a year later, I was invited to FOCUS by my roommate, Brad. At that point, I wasn’t a student so I felt strange going to FOCUS. But Brad was persistent, and he invited me to his Core as well. It was in that Core that I began to feel the sense of community I had lost. I had a group of guys opening up to me and giving me the opportunity to do the same. 

"My Corefa asked me about my plans and goals for the future and I told him, at that time, I didn't really plan for the future. He asked me about school, and I told him I wasn't interested in school. I thought it was silly and a financial waste. He brought this conversation up multiple times, and I always shut him down by telling him I had no reason to go to school, but I could tell it was important to him. I finally asked him why he cared so much about something I couldn't care less about, and he told me he cared about my future. 

"I finally decided to hear him out, and he started talking to me about North Central Texas College. We researched NCTC together and found it had programs I was interested in. We also knew that FOCUS was wanting to build a ministry there. I was afraid to become a student, still using finances as an excuse, but so many people were willing to walk me through the financial aid process. After making the decision to become an NCTC student, I committed to being a leader as well. God not only answered my prayer for community, but also radically changed my life as a student and a disciple."

Thank you for committing to benefit these young people by serving, giving, and praying. So many of them you may never meet, but it is my conviction that God sees every single person you impact directly or indirectly, and He never forgets!

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...