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Showing posts from 2021

Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

  Hello Friends and Ministry Partners, It's a joy to get to write to you all again!  While I'm sad we are moving into the Christmas break when a lot of our students go home. I'm so encouraged with the momentum we have going into January and how much I see God's goodness being revealed in the lives of each one of these students. Pictured above is most of our student leader team (3 unfortunately got cut off on the left side) for our last leader team meeting of the semester. Every week this group of students get together to encourage one another, share how God is working in the ministry, read the bible together, and learn leadership principles that will help them in their ministry and every other stage of their life as well. Beyond this each one of these students get mentored by one of our campus pastors in a more personal 2 on 1 context. So each week I get to meet with multiple pairs of these core facilitators to discuss how their core is going but also what is going on i

Life To The Full

 Hello friends and loved ones, Thank you for reading this ministry update, I pray that it encourages you today! This year our theme as a ministry has been life to the full and every week we have been getting to talk to a room full of college students on the full life that Jesus has to offer them. Last night we did some open sharing and we had 30 minutes of students standing up and sharing their response to the question "What has Jesus done for you?" and its been so encouraging to hear feedback from our students on the life they feel like they have experienced because of God's activity in their life, often found or experienced through this community. Now we are going to be moving into heating up the value of evangelism and our call to share this life we have found with our peers and neighbors. Will you pray that our students continue to know the life that God has given to them and that they, being so full of his life, will want to bring that life to their families, and the

Fall Camp

 Hello friends and loved ones, Thank you again for taking the time to read this update. I am so grateful for your prayers and your partnership in ministry and I hope that this short update gives you some sense of God's activity at UT Arlington and that it encourages you this morning. For those of you who have been a partner with me from the beginning may recognize the picture up top. That is a picture from our first fall camp with UTA Focus 7 years ago. And the picture below is from our Fall Camp just last week. It is so encouraging to see how many students God is brining into this community every year. This doesn't show the full size of the ministry, but to see over 80 students use their weekend to take a retreat with their peers to worship God, play games, and get to know Jesus better through scripture and through the friendships they are forming here in this community is so encouraging to see! One of our students described the time as "I can't remember the last time

Maverick Stampede (Welcome Week)

  Last month I got to write about how excited I was to get to go with our students to the Student Institute of Campus Ministry. Pictured above are 200 college students learning about why their peers need Jesus and how they can partner with God to reach their campus. SICM was such a neat experience and I loved getting to hear what our students were taking away from the week. But much of what we do during SICM is to prepare our students for the real ministry they will be taking part in during welcome week or as its lovingly called at UTA, Maverick Stampede. During Maverick Stampede our campus missionaries and our student leaders go on to campus with the goal of inviting others into Christ centered community. We help with move in, we attend all of the universities events and we even host some of our own. You can see in the second picture, one of our UTA apprentices, Graham, exchanging phones with a new student. Those shared contacts often lead to these students joining cores, and studying

SICM, Staff Retreat, and Start of the Semester

 Hello friends and partners in ministry, The summer is over! We are back into the full swing of things, and I got to tell you. God is good and I am so excited for what is to come in just the next few weeks of campus ministry. This last week we got to have our staff retreat in Bridgeport, Texas. The goal of staff retreat is to collectively as a team of ministers recenter ourselves on Jesus and his work in the world, reflect on why we do what we do, and spend time together relationally. Pictured below is our UTA Campus Missionary Team for 2021-2022.  From left to right we have Jalen, Graham, Myself, Bailey, Emily, Sophie, Taylor, Emily, and Sarah. Myself, Jalen, Taylor, Emily, and Sarah are our returning campus ministers, while Sophie, Graham, Emily, and Bailey are our apprentices for this school year. If you don't know what an apprentice is, these are recent graduates from the ministry who are either interested in vocational ministry long term or just want to spend a year learning a

The Painful Act of Maturing

  Hebrews 10:24-25 "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Colossians 1:28-29 "He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me." To spur on, to admonish, these are not fun activities. And yet the authors of the new testament make clear again and again that this behavior towards one another should be commonplace. And while it would also make clear that this should be done so gently and with great patience (2 Timothy 2:25) the command to make and mature disciples remains the same. For Jesus did not tell us to JUST preach the gospel, although that is central for anyone who desires life, but Jesus, in his goodnes

Support Raising Update! (How You Can Help)


My Favorite Year Of Ministry

When this year was about to start many campus ministers wondered, how will God work? What students will be on campus for us to meet? How do we do ministry in a pandemic? And with every question there was a component of fear or doubt. I confess that I had these same thoughts, and maybe as a ministry partner passionate about college students you did as well. Well I have good news. God has been so faithful this year. Many more students than we would have ever expected joined our community for the first time and found a place to come and learn more about Jesus as they experience his love through meaningful friendships. And I can honestly say, because of God's goodness, in spite of all of the challenges we faced, this may have been my favorite year of ministry yet. I'd love to tell you why. God was so faithful to bring up leaders. This is about half of our mens leader team. From left to right you have myself, Taylor, Caleb, Matt, Ulisses, Chewy (not a leader, but a very good boy all

Outreach and Assertiveness

Hey friends and partners in ministry, God has been doing some really neat things on the college campus this month and I'm excited to share them with you. In a normal month we have a team of students from Washington come down to DFW and spend their spring break doing outreach on our campuses. And we often cancel all of our events that week to join them in evangelism and outreach. This year, due to Covid, the team from Washington could not come down and join us. But, Emily Umstead, who is one of the campus pastors on our team, had a great idea! What if we just spend the whole week doing outreach anyways? Let's take things off our calendar, focus our time and efforts on being on campus, meeting students all week, and just see what God does! As you can see above God really showed up! Not only were the students already involved in our ministry excited for the opportunity to reach out to their peers, the students walking by were interested in coming and joining us for conversations.

You're Invited to Spring Showcase '21

 One of the most fun and important events that we get to put on each year is Spring Showcase. Spring Showcase is our annual fundraiser for developing future leaders in our ministry. All proceeds go to sending our students to a week long ministry training conference called SICM (Student Institute of Campus Ministry). All week the students are engaged in classes where they learn how to be effective ministers for Jesus to the peers that they meet every day on campus,and every year college students leave the conference fired up to go make disciples of Jesus on the college campus.  So to support this amazing cause we bring together an eclectic gathering of immense talent from all around the DFW metroplex to perform a variety show that we call Spring Showcase. This year showcase is entirely virtual. AND also for the first time ever, showcase is name your own price. So if you want to contribute to a great cause and listen to incredible vocalists, singer songwriters, and world famous mentalist

Pizza Theology and Turning Thirty

  I turned 30 a little earlier this month and got to spend my birthday with several of my dearest friends. Colton Benge an architecture student and one of our FOCUS Apprentices for this next year, and all 3 of the Bass brothers, Nathan who was my roommate when I was a student in college, Bryan who graduated a few years ago and is now a middle school band director and a leader in the church I attend, and Taylor who is going to be doing our FOCUS apprenticeship this year as well. I don't have much to say about that other than I am so grateful God brought me into this ministry as a student one decade ago. I have immense gratitude to God for all the mercy he has shown me over the years and how he has blessed me immensely with dear friends, a wonderful wife, and incredible ministry partners like yourself. Thank you for your investment in college students. Everyone pictured above has now gone through FOCUS as students, and all of us are committed Christ followers today because you helped

Not the light, only a witness

 John 1:1-8 "1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light." Ministry, especially college ministry, can be full of high's. Fun times, great conversations, and getting to watch in real time as people make decisions to follow Jesus. Baptisms, and worship nights, fellowship, and bible studies. And all of these moments have largely been what the last 6 years of my ministry at UT Arlington have been made of. But what happens when a pandemic arrives? When you can't gath

The Leaders of Tomorrow

 Hello Friends and Ministry Partners, Today I want to highlight some future leaders that are coming out of the ministry at UTA, graduating, and moving forward to the next stage of their lives. I also want to ask for your help in praying for wisdom as we make decisions about who from the next generation of students should we invite to take their place as leaders in our ministry! I got to take a retreat last week with some of the guys from UTA Focus who are considering starting the FOCUS Apprenticeship in the fall. Jalen Quintana in the pink hoodie is my co-pastor over the mens ministry at UTA, the others from left to right are Cole Benge, Matt Carothers, Austin Nelson, and Taylor Bass. Each of these guys have been key pillars in our ministry as they have led core groups and personally discipled so many younger men all while being discipled by Jalen and myself. If they do get to start the apprenticeship in the fall then they will spend half their time taking seminary level courses on scr