Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Chaos for the Kingdom


S.I.C.M. Followed by Welcome Week

    So, many of you probably remember when I was raising support as a student to go to Seattle, Washington for a leadership/discipleship training called S.I.C.M. (Student Institute of Campus Ministry) in 2017. Due to Covid, we planned this year's S.I.C.M. for our students out in the hill country of Texas at Camp Eagle. For those who don't know, this is a 5 day training that equips students to go out as empowered disciple makers on their college campus (and beyond)- in their classes, their dorms, their cores, etc.

Here are our UTA ladies at SICM!
I know the Lord will use them to make a difference in the lives of the girls around them at UTA!
And we are loving the disposable camera photos.

We spent a lot of time in a classroom-like setting, hearing from different ministers about the tools and techniques we can have ready to use to be effective disciple makers and whole-hearted, spirit-filled disciples.

    About a week after returning from S.I.C.M., Maverick Stampede (also known as Welcome Week) at UTA began. Our campus pastors, as well as our student leaders (core-fas) attended and participated in a combination of events hosted by the university as well as by us (F.O.C.U.S.) on campus for the first 2 weeks of students being on campus. We have found that the BEST and MOST IDEAL time to meet students, befriend them, and invite them into our community is during these first 2 weeks. It was sad, but affirming to me when I heard of so many students feeling lonely and isolated...it's obvious why this is sad, but affirming still because disciples here have the opportunity to show people the love of God and his good gift- the body of believers who care for one another! Here are some things we did:

This was one of our events where we played Spikeball and Ultimate Frisbee. Some people we invited as we met them in the dining hall, some people passed by and joined when we asked them if they wanted to play, some came because they met a core-fa at a different event, and so on!

These are some of our students tabling outside- a little more formal than games, but especially helpful in making our ministry visible to those who as looking for one already!

Depending on how well you keep up with my blog ;) you may recognize 2 of these ladies- Thu and Lizzy. They joined me and 3 freshman girls to get ice cream the first Saturday on campus.
I can't believe Lizzy and Thu were the new girls in the pictures last year...what a neat reminder of the powerful work God can do in just one year! Now they are meeting new people and being godly friends to them!

This was our "soft start" for core. My co-fa and I hosted a s'mores night and it was an awesome turn out! I pray that each of these girls sticks around to experience core and hopefully a piece of God's kingdom through that.

And finally, this was our first TNF (Thursday Night Fellowship) of the year! Another incredible turn out. I am so encouraged knowing that many of these students experienced worshipping God and being in a Jesus-centered community for the first time in a very long time or for the first time EVER!

    So as you can see, there was A LOT going on in August. These have truly been some of the busiest 2 weeks of my life, but I know it is for good reason and this labor is not done in vain. I am so proud of the way my fellow campus pastors and our student leaders have worked this past week to expand God's Kingdom. We have casted our nets wide, and now it's time to go deep with those who have chosen to stick here for a while.

Here's How You Can Pray:

- Pray for doors at T.C.C. Northeast to open for us to become and official student org and pray for our core there to be successful in whatever way God desires it to be. In addition to Maverick Stampede at UTA, I have also spent a bit of time at T.C.C. reaching new students there too.

- Pray for mine and Sam's core (yes, I am leading with ANOTHER Sam this year) to be a place where believers and non-believers are welcomed, experience God's love, and receive his truth.

- Pray for our student leaders to remain zealous and faithful with the new students God puts before them.

- Pray for FALL CAMP!!! For our staff to prepare something that will really serve and bless our students and for new students to be drawn near to God and to the Christ-like friendships they encounter here.