It feels like ages since the last time I wrote and so much has happened. I caught you all up to speed as far as June, but July and August have been action-packed, so I have a lot to write about. Let's start with July.
To be fair, the first part of July was mostly calm. I did a bunch of counseling and preparations for Bible camp. I put in some time on continuing education by listening to Bible lectureships on-line and reading books. And we had a lovely visit from one of our previous students, Miss Bailey Hoeft, who brought her sisters to hang out for the weekend.
Our Bible studies over the summer were informal events. Sometimes we studied the Bible, but just as often we worked on the facility or just hung out together. We helped Taylor with her fundraising letters one night, had a surprise birthday party for Cassie one night, and spent the whole time making plans for the new Fall semester one night. We averaged about 6 or 7 students, which is pretty good for the summer time. All in all, it was exactly what we needed it to be, when we needed it to be it.
Then about half way through the month, we started picking up speed for camp and the new semester. I participated in our semi-annual Preacher Swap and headed over to Sundance, WY, where the Wales family treated Sarah and the boys and I to a great lunch afterwards. I worked madly on camp for a couple of days and then jumped on a plane and flew to Auburn, Alabama for the annual “Campus For Christ Conference.”
The first time I went to the “Campus For Christ Conference” was last year when the University Church in Canyon, Texas hosted it. They are one of our longer-term supporters and generously offered to send me to their conference. It was such a good thing last year that my elders sent me to again this year.
The theme this year was “Launch: Preparing Students For Life After College.” The two best pieces of this conference are the classes and the networking. The classes cover all kinds of different aspects of campus ministry. If I wanted to learn about how to make disciples better, get insights into Generation Z, improve fundraising efforts, or help our students become more socially responsible, I could find classes on any of those topics. These are wonderful resources and if you are interested, most of them are free online at https://campusforchrist.net/conference-audiovideo-2018/.
Campus For Christ Conference 2018
One Of Our Presentations
My Conference Buddies
The other part of this conference that is so good is the networking opportunities. There are campus ministers from all over the place who have been through all kinds of situations in all kinds of environments. If I run into struggles and obstacles in my ministry, I have a chance to ask whole tables full of ministers what they would do. It is great!
The main lesson I took from the conference this year is just how important it is for us to be doing this ministry here in South Dakota. Sometimes it feels like we have a simple little program and it isn't a big deal, but this conference convicted me that what we are doing here is vitally important. Check out this map:
Campus Ministry Map 2014
This is a map of the church of Christ related campus ministries in the USA. The red text is “Primarily Division 1 Colleges Without Campus Ministries” and the black text is “Colleges With Campus Ministries.” As you can see at the top, this map is a couple of years old, but it shows just how scattered campus ministries are in the Midwest and the Northeast. There are a handful to be sure, but not many. The biggest message I got from this year's conference is how terribly important it is to have campus ministries in the north. Folks, we need this. We need campus ministries in the north because there just aren't that many.
It reminds me of that verse in Matthew where Jesus looks out over the crowds of people searching for healing and direction and He says:
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
- Matthew 9:37-38
All that to say, I deeply appreciate everyone of you for your support in this ministry. It is a good thing we are doing together. And I hope one day that this ministry can serve as a launching pad for many others like in the Midwest.
Thanks for reading!