Custodian Appreciation Day

This past Thursday was the 2nd Annual Custodian Appreciation Day (CAD) at the Colorado School of Mines. It was quite the day. Donuts in the morning for all the custodians, $5 Jimmy John’s gift cards for all 58 workers, a 3 layer cake, and a hilarious skit for entertainment. The Mines Cru group doubled their volunteer base compared to last year by partnering with 5 other clubs (not all Christian) on campus. And the students were able to raise over $700 on their own for the event.

What was great about this year was that CAD coincided with “bring-your-kid-to-work” day. So imagine a child waking up at 4 am to go to work with mom and watch her strip tile, and then going to a party in honor of all her hard work. The children were so proud.

Our Cru students really engaged with the custodians. In fact, one worker even said that he was never really sure if people appreciated what he does all year, but that this day makes him want to work harder and makes the year better.

What’s amazing was that this whole day, and all the ways the school was blessed by this event was birthed out of a simple question – “If Cru was not at Mines, would anyone notice?” The girls in that Bible study took that question to heart and started CAD last year. This year, at least 58 custodians would miss them if Cru was not at Mines.

Can’t wait to see what April 2011 brings.

The Supreme Court, Campus Ministry and Discrimination

(reposted from crockerchronicle.blogspot.com)

A case that is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court could have wide-ranging ramifications for those involved with campus ministry. A Christian-based organization, Christian Legal Society (CLS), is hoping to gain official recognition as a student organization from the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law. However, the school has not allowed their paperwork to go through because the group has some stipulations on who can become a leader within their organization. Specifically, the Christian Legal Society has been denied because they ask their leaders to agree to the group’s statement of faith and abide by certain codes of conduct in line with biblical standards for morality.

To learn more about this pivotal case, you can read here.

As a campus minister, I am watching this case closely. What is at stake here is whether Christian organizations can require their leadership to agree to a common set of beliefs and behavior that is in agreement with the purpose and philosophy of the organization. Amazingly, Hastings rejected the CLS’s application as a registered student organization not just because they felt it discriminated against homosexuals but because it discriminated against those with other religious beliefs.

The school is not saying that the CLS can’t exist on campus but they would be denied certain privileges that other registered organizations are afforded. These privileges would include such things as funding from the school, the ability to reserve on-campus meeting rooms, set up informational tables on the campus, etc. Should the U.S. Supreme Court uphold the school’s decision, we would be heading down a very slippery slope.

Because all state run universities have some sort of non-discrimination clause for student organizations, Christian organizations have had to agree to keep their group open to all students. However, when choosing its leadership, Christian groups (like others) have been allowed to only select those that are in agreement with the group’s core beliefs and practices. Should Christian groups now be required to select anyone as a leader then those groups could cease be greatly hindered in their ability to live out their mission.

Since religious organizations are based upon the beliefs of its members, they inherently discriminate within its leadership against those with different beliefs. And so do other groups. The president of the atheist group does not believe in God and the leader of the College Republicans is not a Democrat. A women’s group is not forced to have a male chauvinist as it’s leader nor is the Gay and Lesbian Society headed up by someone that believes homosexuality is sinful.

In denying the CLS as an official organization, the school has stated that they believe the group is discriminating against homosexuals. I find it odd that they are not coming to the defense of heterosexual students that are engaged in sexual activity outside of marriage also. Because, in reality, many more straight students are denied leadership positions in Christian organizations because of their extramarital activities. Since the CLS does not accept leaders who exhibit “unrepentant participation in or advocacy of a sexually immoral lifestyle”, it can be considered that any sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and woman — heterosexuality, homosexuality or anything else — would be a disqualifier for leadership.

Should Christian groups on college campuses be required to accept anyone into leadership positions, then there would be a dramatic shift in how campus ministries would operate. By being denied meeting space, funding and other similar amenities, Christian groups would have to operate in a much more low-key and relational manner. The big meetings and on-campus events would be a thing of the past as we would be forced to meet in smaller group settings without official recognition by the school.

Throughout history the Christian message has spread rapidly during times when Christians were persecuted or churches were not recognized by the government. So although I hope the Supreme Court is consistent with our country’s value of freedom of religion, God is not limited by whether a school recognizes a group. As long as God is in it then His name will be made known.

Cross 09

cross 09 logo

On Monday, Campus Crusade staff all over the US will participate in a ministry push aptly named Cross 09. Every staff will be ministering cross culturally. For years, Crusade staff have been crossing oceans with the Gospel message. Countless lives have been transformed because of those staff who crossed cultures. But even here in the United States, there are still “oceans” to be crossed. The number of ethnic minorities enrolling in colleges is continuing to exponentially increase. In fact, Latinos are on track to be largest demographic of school age children by 2050.

Staff will be spending those three days (November 9-11) focusing on reaching out to ethnic minority students. Some will be making an evangelistic push on their campus. Some will be traveling to several host city/locations around the country.

Denver is a host city, and Amber and I will be leading 30+ staff on those three days. It has been a lot of work, but very rewarding work, as we’ve prepared for the training times. We’ve grown in our understanding of minority culture, and we’ve grown in our heart for minorities, especially Latinos.

Please pray for us on these three days, as we lead this “conference” here in Denver. Pray that we can communicate clearly, and that God would use us instrumentally with helping staff grow in their heart (and in skills) to reach ethnic minorities here in the US.

[November Ministry Update]
We also recently sent out our November ministry update. Most of our blog readers will either receive it in the mail or an email. If for some reason you don’t you can download a copy here.

Also, if you would like to start receiving our prayerletters via email, you can subscribe through this form.

Ministry Update

Download Newsletter Here

HOMEOWNERS::
It’s hard to believe the summer is over. With temperatures being so much cooler here in Denver
than in Texas, it’s easy to feel as if “summer” never even happened. But here we are at the start of the semester and able to look back and rejoice at all of God’s blessings. [read more…]

STAFF CONFERENCE::
Every two years, Campus Crusade holds a conference for all their US based staff. Itʼs quite a conference to be a part of. Imagine being in a basketball arena filled with like-minded individuals committed to helping to fulfill the Great Commission, to bringing the gospel to the world. We walked away from this yearʼs conference refreshed, encouraged, and excited. [read more…]

AURARIA CAMPUS::
One of the most intriguing campuses Iʼve ever stepped foot on is this campus in downtown Denver. The campus is shared by three schools – Denver Community College, Metropolitan State College of Denver, and University of Colorado Denver. With the three schools combined, there are over sixty-thousand students. It is the most  diverse school in the state, and presents a great opportunity for kingdom impact in the city of Denver.[read more…]

2 Month Drive-By

Much has happened since the last post. Especially since our last post was over two months ago. Here’s a quick review:

We wrapped up the school year;

UT Small Group End Year

said bye to friends, family, staff and students as we prepared to move to our new assignment in Denver;

Friends

travelled to Michigan for Stacey (one of Amber’s closest friends) and Paul Bulucz’s wedding;
Bulucz wedding

travelled to Ohio for Evan’s (Amber’s youngest brother) high school graduation;

family

packed up our house and loaded the truck;

moving van

drove for three days to our new home state;

colorado state line

started house hunting and saw God provide in an amazing way; and enjoyed our first July 4th weekend together in Denver, which culminated with a free symphony at the Red Rocks Amphiteater.

symphony at Red Rocks

Next stop, Fort Collins, for our national staff conference. But in the mean time, we’re busy trying to meet with people to find new families who will partner with us in ministry. Pray with us that we will continue to see God supply all of our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. We’ve lost over $500 in monthly support this past month, but we look forward to meeting those who God has raised up to partner with us.

The End of the Year!

This past week was our last week of ministry for the school year, which meant a full schedule of meetings, evaluation and planning for the fall, our last staff social of the semester, meeting with students, and an end-of-the-year party to recognize the seniors in our ministry and send our students off for the summer!

I kicked off the week by hosting a celebration dinner for my small group girls.  We had a time for each girl to share how God has been at work in their life this year and we also had a time of prayer over each person.  It was a sweet way to end our year together!

UT Small Group End Year Dinner

For our staff team, part of the week was spent at a planning retreat at a lakehouse 2 hours outside of Austin.  One of our ministry partners was able to arrange the location for us and it was a blessing for our team!

Lakehouse View

Some of our staff team taking an afternoon break from meetings to play bocce ball.

bocce ball
Staff Team End Lakehouse
On Thursday night, there was an end of the year party for our UT Epic ministry to send off the students for the summer and recognize the seniors who are graduating from our movement.  Truman shared a few words of encouragement with the seniors and issued a challenge for them as they begin a new chapter in their lives.

RedCarpet

The Seniors walking the “Red Carpet”

Seniors

Two of the girls in my bible study asked if I would bake the cake for our End of the Year Party. I decorated it to reflect the Hollywood theme of the Senior Recognition night.

09 Epic Grad Cake

I will be sad not to meet with these sweet girls to study the Word together every week! Three of them are graduating and off to their next adventures! Three of them are heading off on summer mission trips to East Asia. I am so excited to hear their stories of how God is at work in and through them this summer!

UT Small Group End Year

Please pray for our students this summer!  Pray that they would honor God and continue to grow in their faith wherever they are this summer.

We are SO thankful for our team of ministry partners!  This year of ministry would not have been possible without your faithful prayers and financial support!  We have been incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to share in what God has done this year in the lives of college students.

Ministry Update

In addition to Foto Friday, my desire is to add a Ministry Monday. Unfortunately, this Monday got away from me (seeing that it’s now Wednesday). Well, here’s our latest ministry update in our latest newsletter.

Here are a few highlights:

  • “This year, we were able to host the first ever Epic conference for the Red River Region (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana). And it was amazing!”
  • We started the year with only about 50 students involved in our ministry.
  • By God’s grace, by the time the conference rolled around, we had over 100 students attending!!! We had students from UT, UT San Antonio, Baylor, Dallas, and Houston.

And a fun personal update:

  • We’re going to be on TV (TLC on May 2)

You can get the complete newsletter here.