Sunday, June 05, 2011

Such an Affirming Weekend

In T-minus 45 minutes, we will be hosting another "date night" - this one with just one pair, Walt and Lauren. I don't believe he will be blindfolding her to take her to another location - instead we're just having bbq together and then off to the final CCF of the school year.

I can't even begin to tell you how affirming the last 6 or so weeks have been in terms of the joy we've found in our "chosen ministry". From opportunities to speak (and make folks laugh in the joint retelling of John and I's "romance"), to hanging out with more and new folks one on one, to John's accountability group to my Tuesday Night Ladies. Much to our surprise, today, when CCF took over the "Big Church's" service, Corey gave a special shout out to our family with a slide shown on the big screen of the four of us at last year's retreat. Talk about edifying and encouraging - and yet, all along, we've felt like we've been the ones on the receiving end of blessings. I guess that's what is described as the joy found when we are serving Christ where He wants us to be.

Within our bulletin this morning, Corey Rose - the CCF Pastor, wrote a very encompassing description of the ministry of these collegians. In an effort to explain what goes on with these guys once and for all, I thought I'd share his write-up:

"Out of the Box" by Pastor Corey Rose - Collegiate Christian Fellowship (CCF)

When it comes to working with college-age people, I'm constantly inspired and challenged by their never-ending quest to experience life and not just endure it. They are "anti-rut dwellers" who aren't afraid to step out and try new things. Their willingness to live their journey seems to result in some fascinating adventures - some successful and some not. As a friend of mine once told me, "College-age people accomplish more by accident than most people accomplish on purpose." Looking back over these past years in our college ministry (better known as Collegiate Christian Fellowship or CCF) I am thankful for what God has let us accomplish intentionally, and at times, accidentally, in our quest to be disciples who make disciples of Jesus Christ.

I continue to be encouraged by a growing sense of Biblical community in CCF. Our two campus houses - with their 74 full-time residents and staff (28 men in the Alpha Omega House and 46 women in the Trinity House) - continue to remind me how God uses community to radically change peoples' lives. And our weekly Community Life Groups (involving 20 trained leaders and 120 college-age people) continue to reflect the significance of relational environments where meaningful friendships are cultivated, future leaders are developed, and pliable hearts are transformed.

I am also thankful for a growing sense of ministry identity, specifically geared to college-age people. Much of this can be attributed to the recent blessing of a college-friendly space where we can hold our Sunday Night gatherings, affectionately called "The Box". Each week, 150 college-age people come to celebrate God's presence, learn from His Word, build relationships, and are inspired to live, love, and lead like Jesus.

And I am encouraged to see and ever-growing sense of mission among our college-age people who hunger to make a significant difference in our community and beyond. From neighborhood service projects to serving in various ministries at First B, from making and taking burritos on their bikes to the homeless to serving on short-term mission projects in various parts of the world, from sharing the Gospel on their campuses to sharing Him in their homes-their love and passion for Jesus and carrying out His mission is contagious.

As CCF looks forward to the future, I realize we cannot do what we do without the strong love and support of our First B family. Thank you for loving college-age people. Thank you for giving them a voice! Thank you for your eternal investment in them! It's all paying off in huge way! Just ask our alumni who are spreading throughout our world and who love Jesus more and serve Him more because of our ministry to and with them during their college-age years.

I cannot express enough hou thankful I am for the loving, devoted, multi-gifted, servant-hearted Jesus-centered staff and leadership team who makes this ministry what it is today, who continually seek to live their lives "outside the box". I cannot tell you how honored and proud I am to be able to serve with them. They not only minister to their peers with a maturity beyond their years, they make us "older folk" (relatively speaking!) think twice about our own paths in life, especially when it comes to our relationships with God and each other. Because (let's admit it) the older we get, the easier it is for us to become comfortable and complacent "rut dwellers" trading in Spirit-led adventures for man-made boxes. May we, individually and as His church, prove otherwise and experience to the full what it means to truly journey together with our Savior and Lord for His glory (Ephesians 3:14-21).

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