I hope you are doing well and having a warm and sunny day! Around here, winter has held on long and grimly, but the last few weeks have finally start to thaw. I even broke out a pair of shorts the other day. I regretted that decision immediately, but it reminded me that summer will come again some day and I can't wait. As far as campus ministry though, here is our report for March.
March was a regular kind of a month for us. We had the big youth rally at the end of February and everyone took off for Spring Break in the middle of March, so it was fairly quiet around here. We had all our normal studies and meetings, of course, and I took the opportunity to make it to a couple of the area churches, but by and large it wasn't a big month.
Probably the thing that had the biggest impact on the area was a funeral. Ed Hawks, who was a member of the Faith Church of Christ, passed away unexpectedly. It was a big blow to the community, as Ed and Gloria were both very involved and active in the congregation. This marks the third loss in their congregation this year, so they need to be in our prayers as much as possible these days. Ed was a great guy and we are going to miss him.
While the students were gone for Spring Break, I caught up on some reading and finished a book I would like to recommend to everyone. It is called, “Loves God, Likes Girls” by Sally Gary. It is not a theology book as much as a diary. It is simply the story of the author growing up in an abusive home and trying to find her identity as someone who loves God, but is attracted to her same gender. Although homosexuality is the main theme, it is equally about abuse, isolation, and the importance of dealing with the difficult parts of our lives. It is a beautiful, heart-breaking, book that offers a lot of healthy perspectives on how homosexuality and faith interact. It is also great for pushing people to confront the parts of our lives that we would rather ignore or diminish. You should pick it up sometime and tell me what you think. I know it has been a formative book for me and I think it will bless your life as well.
Back to our activities in March though, I started laying the ground work for a new tutoring program. I've been trying to get our crew involved with serving people in some way for awhile now and we have had a few events, but nothing on-going or predictable. As I mulled it over, my sweet wife Sarah suggested starting a tutoring program for high school students based in our church building on Wednesday nights. It would work great because we always do a “Mid Week Manna” meal on Wednesday nights during the school year, so students could get help with homework, get dinner, and stay for evening assembly if they were interested. I thought it was a great idea, but I couldn't see the schools getting on board with sending their students to our building and I was concerned about our students being confident enough to help with high school level math tutoring (it can be brutal!).
Still, it was a great idea, so I went to talk with our local middle school principle to see what they might need. I was looking for something like a “Thursday afternoon tutoring at the school” situation, but he said, “Wednesdays would work best to avoid the Tuesday and Thursday evening sports activities. Also, our classrooms are all pretty full already. How do you feel about a Wednesday afternoon event at your building?” I said that works for me and we started making plans.
We decided to start in the Fall, since there isn't much of the school year left this year, and hire a local bus company to drive the students out to our building at $4 a person. In the meantime, I want to get folks used to the tutoring routine, so we started our own little in-house tutoring program with students who go to our church. So now most every Wednesday night we have a little group that meets up and works on math problems before our evening meal. It is definitely small and we don't meet every week, but you know, God tends to honor folks who faithfully keep working at the small things in life. It reminds me of Jesus' parable about the Shrewd Manager where he says folks who can be trusted with a little money can be trusted with much. If we keep working at the small things, God notices, and hopefully we can help some folks out with this tutoring thing.
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
- Luke 16:10
I took advantage of the quieter month to participate in our local Preacher Swap. Three times a year, the preachers from a half dozen area congregations swap pulpits for a Sunday. It is a fantastic way for preachers and congregations to get a chance to get to know each other. I drove to the Gillette Church of Christ and taught class and the sermon. I also had a lovely surprise as two of our students, Rachel and Cassie, drove over to cheer me on while I preached. They literally drove 95 miles each way through a snowstorm to show up and support, which I thought was just the sweetest thing. We have great students around here.
Speaking of them, we did a handful of individual Bible studies in March, a good deal of counseling, they helped make the Mid Week Manna one week, and several of them have taken to riding over to Faith on my monthly trips over there. So even on months when we don't have any big things going on, they are still really involved, which is pretty cool.
Anyway, that's all for March. Thanks for reading and you have a great day!