Sunday, October 31, 2021

Comparing with Two Years Ago

For many reasons, we aren't a ministry that fixates a lot on counting and numbers. But we do take a look at our involvement numbers at least every October so we can compare year-over-year involvement in our campus activities. Looking at UTD's 2019 (pre-pandemic) numbers compared to 2021, the number of students involved in core are basically the same--275 to 274! (there is always some room for error since attendance changes week to week). It's exciting to see that coming out of such a crazy season, just as many students are consistently involved in these smaller groups where they are known and loved and are ministered to individually! 

The average attendance for our weekly large group at UTD is down some in the same time period, 183 to 160. (To be fair, the 2019 number was for two services, Tuesdays and Fridays, added together whereas now we are only meeting on Fridays. So it's possible that availability is a factor.) Our Fall Camp attendance (which we knew would be a tough sell with the pandemic still going) dropped from 177 (2019) to 138 this year. All of this is consistent with the growing social anxiety that is so common in Gen Z. 

As we head into our first in-person Pizza Theology in two years (on Nov 14!) as well as Winter Camp in January, we're hoping that we can persuade more students to take part in these key experiences or else ultimately find new, more effective ways of accomplishing the same goals. Will you join us in praying about that? We need a special measure of wisdom and creativity! 

Of course, none of these activities is sacred, not even core or a weekly service on campus. Our mission remains the same: To Make and Mature Disciples to God's Glory. We adapted during the pandemic, we're adapting to this new generation, and we'll adapt again and again as needed. The need is as great as ever, with so many more who have never heard the Good News about Jesus and who are so very confused by all the messages they are hearing from the culture. My prayer is that every Jesus-follower on campus will be creative and bold in shining the light of Christ to the people they encounter--loving them, serving them, taking an active interest in them. These students are doing very real ministry every single day, and I'm honored that you've chosen to be a part of it through your prayers and generosity!

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...