Sunday, June 4, 2017

Another Great SICM

At the end of SICM, students prayed prayers of commissioning over each other one campus at a time.
SICM was outstanding, as always. We took nearly 90 potential student leaders with us this year, and we all agreed it was our best group in years. I loved getting to know some of these young people who will be leading the FOCUS community in the years to come!

Here is a sampling of comments from students that popped up on Facebook after we got back (don't miss the last one!):

"This trip was filled with so many memories that I won't forget. I love these people and their hearts for Jesus so much. Washington is so beautiful and a great reminder of how mighty our God is. SICM taught me and equipped me to be a better missionary on my campus and for that I am so grateful."

"SICM 2017 in Washington was a life changing experience!! I learned so much about campus ministry and what it looks like to be a faithful disciple of Christ! I love everyone that went!!! God is amazing and I can't wait to see what He has next for his disciples!!!"

"I am struck by the feeling that God has met with me this week. He's met with just about everyone this week, but just making the application to myself and moving my faith from an intellectual truth pursuit to an emotional and relational reality has changed how I think about nearly everything. God has been bringing up these two ideas of "I have a great work planned out for you" (plural and singular), as well as Samuel's calling phrase of "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening". And I think I'm finally in a place where I can make Samuel's response my own. The Lord has great works prepared for all of us. The ultimate craftsman has invited us into his workshop with the express intent of letting us do our best to help him with his work. The redemption of all of creation, and we get to participate! AHHHHH! I don't know if that gets you excited, but it gets me hyped as all get out. This week has been a review, reminder, and introduction to a ton of things that have put me in a place where I can do nothing but serve the Lord."

Lots of people getting married!

I've definitely lost count of how many weddings I've done and been in the past few years. Because of our focus on college students and recent grads, someone's always getting married around here! The institution of marriage is in a state of disrepair in our culture, but we are doing everything we can to set these young people up for success. It starts with making and maturing disciples, carefully and purposefully. Then our 10-week pre-engagement material matches a young couple with an experienced guiding couple. Rather than focusing on classes, this is yet another place we believe "one-on-one is how it's done." No written curriculum can completely take the place of real relationships with people who will walk alongside you and share their wisdom along the way. We certainly can't prevent every problem married couples will face, any more than we could prevent all the problems single people will face, but we can set them up for success. We get rave reviews on this program from both participants and guiding couples, and we're working to make it better every year.

I love this picture! My college roommate Kris (one of the first FOCUS leaders) and his wonderful wife Cori led Joseph and Sarah through our "Guide to Decide" pre-engagement curriculum. This is just one of the ways FOCUS alumni love and serve current students. I got the privilege of officiating Joseph and Sarah's wedding earlier today!

Student Testimony

I think Michelle's story illustrates the challenging transition from youth ministry to college. God is using people like you to make sure someone is there to meet these young people where they're at!
Michelle Kim (Sophomore, Collin College - Preston Ridge, Nursing)

"I grew up going to church but didn't know how to have a relationship with Christ. It wasn't until I got involved in the youth ministry at my church that I really started to seek and encounter God. When the time came for me to attend Collin College I found myself in a dark place. I wasn't considered “youth” anymore. Many significant people in my life were no longer around, and I felt like a burden to those that were. I felt secluded and was reminded of my past failures, fears, and insecurities. I began to believe that my past defined me, and I felt worthless. In the midst of my anger and frustration towards myself, I turned away from Christ. I tried to do life on my own and quickly found out that relying on my own strength made everything feel impossible. I remember eventually falling to my knees and asking God for life transformation. That's when God led me to FOCUS and started to reveal Himself to me through the people there. Through their discipleship and outpouring of love towards me, I have been able to radically encounter God’s love. During my involvement in FOCUS, I have found my purpose in life--to know Jesus, and make Him known."

Thanks for your work and prayers and gifts to make success stories like these a reality. There are so many more I could tell!

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...