Skip to main content

Spooky Season and Keep FOCUS Growing

 We just wrapped up Halloween. And the spooky season came with a few fun and interesting opportunities to bless students on campus and help others wrestle with what they believe about life after death.

At our last Thursday Night Fellowship of the month of October, all our staff and students dressed up in our respective costumes and still came to worship together and learn more about God's word, while dressed silly as can be. I love that part of college ministry is getting to have fun together. An axiom in our ministry is "Be a fool for God, not cool for God."  And I think there is something really bonding about everyone collectively agreeing to be silly, even if just for one night. Our students had a great time dressing in their group costumes and building memories together. Thanks for providing a location for students to have fun and build memories with friends without having to be exposed to dangerous situations or heavy alcohol consumption like is often the case for college students during this time of year.

For outreach this year, we took a risk.

On Halloween, I dressed up as a zombie and myself and several others of our staff walked around campus and asked people what they thought about life after death, and if they had ever heard of the resurrection of the dead? What would it mean if Jesus rose from the dead? And how would you feel about coming back from the dead, not as a zombie but as a fully restored version of yourself without sin or pain? Obviously the risk was that people could be averse to thinking about death, or could take offense at the gimmick of the zombie outfit. But given that it was halloween we thought there may not be a better time to ask strangers these kinds of  questions. I personally got to meet a young student named Bryson whose dad had just passed away from cancer a month earlier, as well as his dad who had passed away a year earlier. Bryson told me that he had been thinking a lot about death and faith recently. Then I got to the opportunity to share with him the story of losing my mom to cancer and I told him that I was a pastor. I asked if he would want to get together for coffee to talk more about these things. He said yes, and our first conversation went so great! He thanked me for the time, and asked if we could get together again. We are going to start reading the gospel of John together this week. Please be praying that his heart would be affected by Jesus as we read together. I'm thankful that something something as silly as a holiday can be used to help someone come to know Jesus. Thank you for providing the opportunity for me to get to know students like Bryson.

Giving Tuesday is November 29th, and we have a total of $56,000 in matching funds this year. All gifts, collectively given, up to a total amount of $56,000 will be matched. What an amazing opportunity to invest in college ministry being available for students for years to come. Each of you gives generously to support me as a campus missionary, but Keep Focus Growing to be ready to say yes to opportunities that God places in front of us. Whether that's planting new campuses, advertising, or sponsoring students to attend events like Pizza Theology or Winter Retreat. Every gift given goes towards helping college students come to know and experience Jesus more. Would you please consider making a special donation towards FOCUS at a time of year where your gift can have a double impact?

I'm so thankful for all of you. Please be praying for our student leaders as they continue to study the bible with their peers, and for our pastors as we continue to help all the students under our care mature in their faith and resemble Jesus more and more each day.
In Christ,
Austin Gage


Popular posts from this blog

Disciple Means Student

Two of the things that I have been most grateful for in the last month is the fact that God gifts us with so much fun in this life, and secondly, how God blesses us by giving us the ability to learn. At our online TNF's we have been hosting after events for our students where we try to do something that helps everyone feel connected. At one of our most recent after events we decided to host "show and tell" where everyone finds one or two objects that they are most proud of owning or they consider to be the most interesting thing they own. It was such a blast to see what the students loved and wanted to show off. In the bottom right Taylor Bass, one of our student leaders, was showing off the set of armor that he and some friends had crafted from cardboard. And 2 blocks above him Nathan Baugh, another one of our student leaders, shows off his autographed pictures of Ariana Grande that he got when he was in middle school. It was so sweet to laugh with those in attendance

More Winter Retreat and Lucy Update!

  The fruit of winter retreat is evident! God really used that time to bond our guys together and point them more collectively towards following Jesus. Since winter retreat we have been able to identify several guys that we are excited to invite to be leaders next year in the ministry from Austen, to Josh, to Manny, to Chris (who's testimony is below) God is raising up young men who are eager to not only know Him but to share him with their peers. I couldn't be more grateful for you who helps to make that kind of heart transformation possible! One of our core groups, led by Ian and Crew has been in a particularly healthy place. These guys look forward to spending time together, reading God's word, praying for one another, and sharing their lives. Here they are hanging out an arcade together recently. But every week they are learning about Jesus together and growing as disciples! Speaking of Growing, Lucy is getting bigger. This photo above was from her first wedding recentl

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