As we move back into a more normal school year, we are seeing more clearly some of the unique challenges presented by the pandemic. Students feel more overwhelmed than ever. I think it is partially due to more activities being added back as things open up, but their stress is amplified by the fact that online classes didn't really require them to keep a schedule last year. We are spending more time than ever teaching basic time management skills. Social anxiety, which was already on the rise, was magnified by months spent alone or with only a handful of others. This means our cores are full but attendance at our Friday Night Fellowship meetings has been mediocre.
In addition, many of our new student leaders have never seen a normal year of FOCUS at UTD, so we are continually realizing the need to explain what we are doing and why they should take part and lead in those things. It's hard to know what they don't know because in most years that understanding is passed on through community rather than formal teaching.
While I think our team has done an amazing job answering those challenges (and more), there is no doubt that the missing year of campus life will have a ripple effect on student leadership development and on our overall mission for an indeterminant amount of time. As a result, I think our Number One Prayer Need is for wisdom and energy for our pastors as they reengage in the relationally intensive work of reaching out to and mentoring students into the kingdom of God. I can tell you this work is already off to a great start!
Thank you for praying for and resourcing this mission to the campus. It's a pivotal time and what you do matters!
Fall Camp Photos
|The guys who came to camp from one of the cores I oversee. Jackson (on the left) and Tony (2nd from the right) are the leaders. I get to meet up with these great guys weekly!|
|We did an outdoor worship in the round, reflecting on Eph 5:19 - "Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit."|
|I got to interview eight students from our community during the sessions, giving them the opportunity to share about key decisions they have made to follow Jesus and the challenges they've faced along the way.|
|Walk and talks are always a hit!|
|Playing with the big parachute. I can't believe how tiring it is!|
|Taylor (on the right) is my apprentice this year, and these are some of the guys from his core this year.|