February was a great month, filled with many exciting things! We invited our potential leaders for next year to the Student Institute of Campus Ministry (here after just called SICM). Each year, we keep a close eye out for students who are already practicing servant leadership like Jesus, those who are serious about and growing in their relationship with Jesus, and who we could potentially see as student leaders in the next year or so. These are the students who keep the ministry growing and vibrant!
The students attend SICM in Bellingham, WA. It's a week filled with lectures, discussions, and hands on experience of learning how to do campus ministry even better than what they've already been practicing.
Every year, I am astounded by the number of solid students that the Lord raises up! In 2011, the year I got to attend SICM, we invited 16 students from UNT. Now, five years and two new campuses in Denton later...we've invited 56 students this year! Wow!
I would ask you to be in prayer with me for these students as they prepare for this time of intensive training. Pray that each of them will be able to fully fundraise what they need to so that money will not be a hindrance to their coming. Pray that each of them will have soft hearts that are ready to learn how to impact their peers. Pray that they will come back excited about the vision of reaching the world through campus ministry!
If you would like to help support one of these students as they're raising funds for the trip, you can go HERE.
Another way you can support them is to buy tickets and come to the Spring Showcase in April! If you came last year and remember the caliber of talent we had gathered, prepare to be amazed! From what I hear, the acts and art are even better, if you can believe that. If you would like to buy your ticket online, you can do so HERE.
Thoughts That Sparked This Month's Title
I wanted to share with you some thoughts I've been pondering this month regarding campus ministry. Normally in this blog, I share the highlights of the things going on throughout the month...the cool ways I've seen God work, or the fun events we've gotten to host for our students. I'm sure you know though, that campus ministry isn't all fun and games. But I very rarely talk about those hard parts.
I think it's important for you, as my partners in prayer and ministry, to know about the harder parts, too. Hopefully these thoughts will encourage you in your own ministry, too. Well, here we go!
We often use axioms to teach important concepts to our students. One that we've touched on a couple times in the last month has been "Callused hands, but never a callous heart." The last few weeks, this axiom has been something I've thought about a lot and prayed that God would work in me.
The general idea of it is that as we work in whatever ministry God has given us, that we do it with all of our strength. We work hard, building up calluses on our hands as we seek to be HIS hands. That part I get. What's harder for me is the "but never a callous heart" part.
It's hard to have a soft heart when the people you're ministering to (students for me, others maybe for you) just don't Get It. They repeat offenses, they make terrible choices, they break your heart with their deliberate sin against God. Sometimes the LAST thing I want to do is meet up with someone, when I know it will be the same conversation we had last week. I want to become snappish and harsh with them. I want to give up on them.
It's so hard to remember that this is what I signed up for in following God's call to student ministry. He didn't call me into it so that I could have fun all the time and be so pleased with easy results. He called me to go after these students - the ones who repeat offenses, make terrible choices, and deliberately sin against Him. He called me to help lead them to a deeper relationship with Him and to maturity as a disciple. And in that, I have to have His heart, which is never calloused, but is full of grace and truth.
That is my prayer as I continue the rest of this year, and the next year, and the one after that. Jesus, give me your heart to be gentle and full of grace, but also to bring Your truth to these people that you love so much more than I ever could. Build the calluses on my hands and remove the callousness from my heart. Thank you that you never give up on me. Please give me the same vision for others. Amen.