Saturday, September 2, 2017

New Faces

A few of the many freshmen I was blessed to get to meet over the last week
New Faces
Few things can bring as much excitement- or as much anxiety- as a place full of new faces. When you are freshman moving into a dorm, living away from home for the first time, you are a new face amidst a world of new faces. For some, it's an exciting opportunity to make new friends and enjoy new freedoms. For others, it's an anxiety-filled time that they hope will not be a social repeat of high school.
Both kinds of people need good friendships, and both kinds of people need to know Jesus.

When I started writing this blog, my mind went straight to the idea of new faces for two reasons. On one hand, I've met more people in the past week than I had in any one previous week of my life. On the other hand, I've jumped into ministry in a community in which I am a new face.

Welcoming the "Fresh" Faces
The first Friday Night Fellowship at UNT. The night went so well, and a lot of new students said they loved it!

Welcome Week, or "First Flight Week," as it's called at UNT, is the frantic time in campus ministry (and campus life as a whole) in which new students arrive on campus and spend their first several days adjusting to their new environment. Most campuses fill this week with fun events and free food, which makes it a crucial time for meeting students.
Between three move-in days, two late night Capture the Flag events, several board-game times, and a plethora of other activities I know I'm forgetting, I met a lot of people over the last week. The goal for us as campus ministers is to cast our nets as wide as possible this first week, and then let peoples' varying levels of receptiveness and commitment determine who we end up spending the most time with as the semester goes on.
While a lot of conversations cover the same general details of background, hobbies, and interests, I have met a few people who got vulnerable with me almost immediately.
One freshman at TWU shared about the difficulty of finding friends in college who genuinely cared about him.
A freshman at UNT shared about how he had fallen away from Christ in high school, but that he wants to pursue Jesus and grow in his faith over these next four years.
Another freshman at UNT shared about how he hadn't felt at home in any group on campus until he met the people in FOCUS.

I cannot wait to see how God continues to unfold His plans for these people and lay them on the hearts of the leaders in our ministry.

Learning to Lead While Learning a Community

While I had a fairly large handful of acquaintances and friendships in Denton before moving, I was far from being fully connected with everyone in FOCUS here. As an apprentice and a peer team leader, a huge part of my role is to be a close friend and pastoral voice in the lives of our students. Throughout this past month, I have continually been struck by how much of a challenge this is, but also by how welcoming and humble the students here really are. The student leaders I will be mentoring this year have been enormously encouraging, and it's been a blessing to get to learn more and more about them.
The people here have been faithful to affirm the fact that God has called me here for a reason, and I'm more confident than ever that this will be a year full of fruitful relationships.


  • Cores are starting this week- please be praying that people would immediately begin opening up to one another and forming deep bonds! (For those who don't know, cores are our gender specific small groups where the deeper friendships in the community tend to be built)
  • Pray that new students would have hearts that yearn to know Christ. God can do so much with a willing heart.
  • Please also remember to pray for those recovering from the floods in Houston and India. 
Thank you so much to everyone who has been supporting me, whether it be financially, through prayer, or simply through encouragement. I would be neither willing nor able to do any sort of effective ministry if it weren't for God working through people like you, and it's humbling to remember that.
Our student testimony for this month! I got to know Michael a little bit last year, and he is an incredibly selfless guy.