|All of the current FOCUS pastors from over a dozen different campuses, all together in one place!|
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Now the earth was formless and empty,
darkness was over the surface of the deep,
and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."
Genesis 1:1-2 (NIV)
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:
The old has gone, the new is here!"
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
As I have mentioned a few times in these ministry updates, I have spent the last year and a half in part-time (and occasionally full-time) seminary classes with Fuller Theological Seminary.
One of the many classes I have gotten to take this year boasted a beautiful name: The Church's Understanding of the Church, Humanity, and the Christian Life in its Theological Reflection (as you can imagine, it provided me with a lot of nice, easygoing, rainy day reading material). Two of the many topics covered in this class were those of Creation and Anthropology (the study of humanity, and what it means to be human). Studying these things brought about a much more robust understanding of the fact that not only did God create everything I see around me- He is continually sustaining and creating new things.
The ways we see God creating in Genesis help us understand the ways that He makes us into new creations! Just as the Spirit hovered over the chaos and nothingness of reality before creating the universe, He hovers over the chaos and nothingness of our hearts, our relationships, and our lives. Just as God spoke light, life, order, flourishing, purpose and relationships into being for Creation, He is doing the same in our lives today. Notice the words John picks up on when describing Jesus in his Gospel and in his letters- light, life, water, birth, etc...all images that first find their way into Scripture in the narrative of Creation.
How does your life resemble the story of Creation? Are you in a time of chaos and nothingness, barely cognizant of the Spirit hovering over you, planning something new and keeping you from boiling over? Is God bringing order to an area of your life? Is He shining light on something in your heart? Is He introducing new relationships- filling your life in new ways? Is He clearing away something old, making room for something new (like a gardener)?
The Creator in Ministry
At the beginning of each school year, college pastors get to see a new stage for God's creating work to take place in. There are new students we meet, who God plans on turning into new creations. Because of the turnover rate of college ministry, the student body on each of our campuses takes on a totally new culture every year, and we get to join God in creating and cultivating something new, by His grace helping to bring light, life, and order into dark and chaotic places.
Over the last few weeks, we have:
- Frantically advertised our presence on campus so that students looking for a college ministry know we're here for them
- Met as many freshmen as possible through board game nights, field nights, seminars, helping people find classes, eating lunches and dinners with strangers
- Sought to plug freshmen into church homes by offering rides to church (and advertising their availability all over campus!)
- Started to have ministry-specific events like worship nights and Bible classes
- Started around two dozen new small groups on campus
- Begun to invite everyone in those small groups into one-on-one Bible studies with pastors and student leaders
- Other things I can't think of right now!
This is a hectic time of year, but also an exciting and blessed one. I wish I could tell you about every freshman and first-time student leader who I'm excited about this semester, but for now it will have to suffice to say that there are a lot.
Thank you so much if you have prayed for me, checked in on me, or supported me financially. You are the reason I can be a full-time college pastor.