The Close of a Chapter and the Start of Something New
Hello friends! I hope you all are doing well and staying dry with all the rain we've been having lately!
Would you believe that another semester has ended and we are starting summer! This year was one full of trying situations and difficulties for everyone, but as I reflect with God, it has also been a year of tremendous growth for God's Kingdom and for His people individually. I wanted to spend some time sharing some of those reflections with you and share some hopes of what this next season in ministry would look like!
Reflections in Ministry
SMU and TWU Dallas have both grown tremendously over this past year. Not just in numbers (although we have doubled on both campuses) but also as a community and disciples. At SMU, we had different trials throughout the year that threatened to divide and break our community. At TWU Dallas, nursing school seemed to be harder than ever, with more students experiencing stress, anxiety and struggling academically in their classes. It seemed like the odds were against us in ministry- but just like in the story of Joseph, what the enemy meant for evil, God meant to use it for good- and He did! I have seen our students at SMU grow to understand one another and love one another in their differences and live out the scripture of "considering others as more important than themselves" and to see the body as being made up of many different parts, each of them having different gifts and purposes. At TWU Dallas, where the culture of the campus is one of fending for yourself and competition, I have watched our community be about helping one another, sacrificing time and resources to help one another get ahead, and looking out for the good of others before seeking to serve and lift themselves.
These things are extraordinary and what I believe living in God's kingdom is all about. To see college students not just hearing these things and saying them, but truly putting them into practice and living them out makes all the difficult, hard and tear wrenching moments in ministry so worth it.
Out of the fruit of both the TWU Dallas and SMU campuses, we are sending 16 women and 10 men to our Student Institute of Campus Ministry Training (SICM) in August to train and equip them to be student leaders on our campus! This is so exciting because it is at SICM that students will take classes and have practical application on how to 1:1 disciple other students, do evangelism and lead small group studies. Imagine with me the impact we will have coming onto campus this Fall with these students trained and on mission for sharing the Good News of Jesus with other students!! This is such good news!
And speaking of this Fall, I am so excited to share that FOCUS will be pioneering 5 new campuses in DFW this Fall! To prepare and be equipped, our entire staff took a two day Pioneering Boot Camp with Paul Austin, the Pioneering Director with the campus ministry Chi Alpha! This training helped me understand not only how to plant healthy, vibrant, Jesus-loving ministries on new campuses, but also ways we can grow and nurture our current campus ministries at SMU and TWU Dallas. The biggest takeaway from this training was to be praying for God to give me a big-kingdom vision for our campuses and specifically ways that we can strategically reach different pockets of campus. Please join me in praying for the soil of these new campuses-before we even set foot there- that God would be softening the hearts of students and faculty, so that a harvest may be reaped!
Thank you all for your continued partnership and support in campus ministry! It truly would not be possible without you!
Much love, Amber
As always, here are some photo updates from the past two months!