Sunday, May 3, 2020

Why I'm a Campus Pastor, Part 4

I've been reflecting for the past few months on why our partnership in campus missions is so important. In the midst of that, I got this message from a young man who graduated from UTD a few years back. I think it captures a big part of our shared passion for reaching students with the good news of Jesus!

"This has been on my mind a lot lately and I wanted to share with you. I am extremely thankful for the campus communities and relationships you guys have worked so hard to build and strengthen over the years. The transition out of college to full-time work for me was certainly challenging at times, even though I have a job that is a great fit for me that I enjoy very much. To try and figure out what my life should look like as a disciple in very different environments and with very different groups of people who are older and have already been doing things a certain way for a lot of their life is challenging. There's was a temptation for a while to give in and just do the common "Christian" thing: Build just enough relationship with coworkers to get the job done but not enough to where they actually know me; talk to my neighbors just enough for them to be on good terms with us; involve myself at church just enough to trick myself into thinking I'm being obedient to God. But thank God this has stayed mostly as just a temptation! I have been working to invite my coworkers into my life slowly but surely. I have been able to read the Bible with an elderly neighbor of mine who has become a dear friend. I have found God placing me in a leadership role in a very unusual looking church, trying my hardest to rely on God's strength and wisdom. There were a lot of transformative people in my life that God has used to put my life on a trajectory as a servant. One of the biggest ones was you! The things I was exposed to in Focus helped shape my inner self and what I envisioned for the rest of my life. Part of why the transition out of college life was challenging was because I was not content for my life to start down a different path, less focused on God, just because the college season of life had ended for me. There was such a GOOD struggle in me (that sometimes felt like defeat) to fight to find out what it looks like to stay fully committed to God's mission in the next season. This is what I am so thankful to you and my years in Focus for: For daring to call me to more than the status quo and for giving me a great vision of a life devoted to God!"

I'm so proud of this young man! I miss having him on campus, but I'm so proud of the way he is living out his vocation in step with the Spirit. Transitions are hard, and the transition out of college is a big one, but so many of our young graduates are creatively finding ways to live for Jesus in their diverse walks of life. Praise God!

Final Note:
Ending the school year in social distancing is disappointing. We don't get to have a final fellowship meeting or party to celebrate our graduating seniors. No commencement ceremonies, no graduation parties, no face-to-face goodbyes with the students we've been mentoring all year. But the Lord is surely still working and so are we! Thank you for investing faithfully. It's my commitment to you and to the Lord that we will continue to minister creatively with energy and discipline as we move into the summer.

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...