Wow, September has flown by fast. The beginning of the year is always such a whirlwind! Hundreds of hours and thousands of students cross by our paths in the first two weeks and we want to be faithful to what God has been doing in each of them. Only a few hundred end up coming to our small groups and large fellowships, but we get to be a step in each one's faith journey if we pay attention to what God is doing.
This year we took a few risks on new events targeted towards specific ethnicities. We had a Latinx event and an Asian-American event. It's our belief that God's kingdom is a diverse community with all of our similarities and differences a reflection of his character. However, it's human nature to gravitate towards those with whom we are most similar, so we wanted to take a chance to cast a vision of what it might be like if we all pushed into some discomfort and expended more effort in trying to live in community with one another. And I have already seen it pay dividends! I heard one latino student say that he was dismissive of all the advertising that he saw on campus that FOCUS had put on. He said that his thoughts were, "Who's gonna go to that event?" And then he saw an advertisement for our Lotéria Latinx event and was so excited that there was something tailored for him on this campus. This is just a small story of the need that ethnicities have to feel like they belong. But we want to expand that feeling of belonging to God's people not just one culture.
CoreThis is the first time in over three years that I've had an opportunity to lead a small group, what we call our cores. It's an intense job with a huge time investment, so as I took on more responsibilities it became less and less likely or strategic for me to lead one. However, sometimes it's not about doing the most strategic and/or efficient thing. God often works in inefficient people and ways that look less than ideal for us. This has always been one of my favorite parts of the job, to be the boots on the ground and to walk with students as they take some of their first steps on their own faith journey. So I have been so excited to get to do it again this year. In my core I have 16 guys. There are Christians and non-Christians, white, black, latino, and asian, they range from 17 years old to 26 years old, computer science majors to literature, and they've been entrusted to me for this year just as I have been entrusted to them. They have bonded faster than any core I've ever led. Core lasts about 1.5 hours every week, and yet from the very first week, these strangers who just met and became friends have hung out for 2+ hours afterwards most weeks. They have found and fulfilled a need that many of them didn't realize: a community of men who will encourage and challenge and love one another. And this all through the grace of God.
Thank you guys so much for all that you do for me and all the support you give to me. Because of you, I get to do kingdom work here, and I love doing it. Because of you, students are getting to hear the gospel the first time, they are getting to experience real friendship for the first time, they are getting to be leaders for the first time.