It’s hard to read the words, but these are index cards the Jefferson leaders used to map out their ministry vision for the year.
It’s hard to believe, but already another year is well underway! This year, I’m spending time at 7 different campuses, so this has been an especially intense, but wonderful, season of ministry. Here’s a quick roundup of what’s going on.
How Are We Going To Strengthen This Ministry & Reach This Campus This Year?!
Since we experience 100% leadership turnover on each of our campuses every year, helping our leaders develop and carry out a vision for their campus is a critical, and significant, part of my ministry. Although many issues – like outreach – occur at all of our campuses, the key issues tend to take on a specific flavor at each one. At Temple, we’re beginning to partner with local healthcare providers and pastors in an effort to holistically reach the surrounding community. At Penn Dental, the students are re-launching the chapter after a few years of relative inactivity, so we’re wading through what that means. Drexel is trying to reach their campus community more actively, hosting a ‘Doubt Night’ and possibly participating in a forum on abortion. And Penn (Med) is asking what it means to include other believing healthcare (i.e., nursing) students in their ministry, but with an eye to helping them launch their own, independent ministries in time. I really enjoy coming alongside the students and helping them meet the particular challenges, and seize the specific opportunities, that God lays before them!
For this first month or two, it’s so important to build relationships with new, and returning, students. As the cliché goes, “people have to know you care before they care what you know!” The primary way we care for the students is simply by “showing up” on campus, or, inviting students into our home. Already, we’ve hosted two Saturday morning brunches, with 20-25 in attendance each time. I’ve been to each of our campuses, some a few times, for their activities fairs, large group meetings, leadership meetings, individual discipleship times, and, just to “hang out”. Sharon and our kids have also joined me as they’re able so that students can start connecting with them, too. As we build these relationships, trust grows and ministry moves forward.
As you may remember, each year (sometimes twice) the students gather for a citywide time of fellowship, teaching and worship through song. This fall, it’s been my privilege to put together, and guide, a phenomenal team of students as we get ready for this effort. While at first summer breaks and busy schedules made coordinating calendars challenging, God has given us real momentum and things are moving forward nicely. God led us to a theme of experiencing, and giving away, His love. This is our passion and prayer. But more than the event itself, the process leading up to the event is an amazing ministry opportunity to invest in our very best leaders and help them learn how to think about, and do, ministry so that they too will be ready to guide ministries on their own someday. We want to raise up leaders who will raise up others leaders, the chain continuing until Christ returns. This is how the Kingdom moves forward!
So, there’s a quick snapshot of what God is up to. There’s so much more to share, but we’ll say more in future updates. Thank you, as always, for your love, prayers and gifts that make this ministry possible.
With deep gratitude,
Bryan & Sharon
For prayer & praise:
- praise for so many new students; pray that they keep coming out, and, that God shields them from getting consumed by their studies.
- praise for faithful leaders at each of our campuses; pray that God helps us discern where we need to provide guidance at each campus, and, how.
- pray for new discipleship relationships for Sharon and I to form with the incoming (first-year) women and men (respectively).
- pray for Penn Dental in particular as they re-launch their ministry this year. Each class (there are four) has different schedules, making coordinated efforts challenging.
- pray for our Intermed team as we move toward our fall gathering (Nov. 2-3). We need God’s Spirit to guide us! Pray also that God will help me mentor our students throughout the process. Our heart is that their vision for the Kingdom expand, and, that they will become equipped to teach others what they are receiving. And, that God will be glorified in it all.