Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I fell in love with Jesus my sophomore year in college.  I thought I loved him before that, and maybe in some ways I did, but something happened in me when I was 20 that changed me to the core.  Perhaps it was my RA, Monica, who led me in a bible study and was so raw and authentic with her own struggles that mine didn't seem so scary to talk about.  For whatever reason, God became so real to me and I haven’t been the same since.  I also haven’t been able to walk away from college ministry after 15 years.  I've tried.  Believe me, I've tried.  Raising support isn't high on my list of, “Yes, please let me do this forever!” However, God has always provided.  This week as I begin another year serving the staff and the 1 million college students of the Mid-south region, I am praying and thinking about all of you who serve tirelessly and HARD! So let me give a shout out to my brothers and sisters on campuses all over the USA. 

Here’s to the endless string of staff meetings to decide whether or not to do survey tables or freshmen move-in!  To the staff (Brent Jordan) who faithfully buys ice cream scoops every year for the freshmen ice cream social! Here’s to the long quiet times everyone on the team will have to have because they are frustrated that for the 6th year in a row no one knows where the ice cream scoops are.  They are probably with the extra socks that come out of the dryer. 

Cheers to the staff that stay up until 1AM cleaning up from the dance party where your students mingled with newbie’s and shared the love of Jesus with someone for the first time. To the staff who try and find a room for any event on campus, SHALOM to you, my friend.  Blessings to the minister who is known by first and last name, date of birth, blood type and Myers-Brigg by every Kinko’s worker in a 50 mile radius.  When the employees have a cart ready and waiting for you at Sam’s and Costco, you have truly arrived.

For every staff member who has hauled around boxes of bananas in your car for Fall Retreat, grace to you (and to your car).  It won’t take you long to realize that is a job you pass off to new staff EVERY YEAR. It’s an unspoken.  Another unspoken? How much you SWEAT the first six weeks of school. It’s no joke, people. 

Abundant grace over the phone calls you make to try and set up appointments with students.  “Hi, this is Beth  with Cru and I’d love a chance to get together and tell you little bit about what we’re about.  Do you have time to get together this week?” (Pause.)  “No? How about next week?” (Pause) “No? How about after Labor Day?” (Pause.) “No? How about April 23rd at 2PM?”  It’s not me, it’s you.

For all the times you get the shaft when you are passing out Red Bull’s and Bible’s….you’re still cool.  Or not.  Stop wearing your shirts tucked in and see how that works for you.  

As you meet with that freshmen who stares at his shoes or texts the whole time you are with them, remember that they could come on staff one day and be a world changer.  For example, my girl Jill. I met her as her parents drove up in a van and we unloaded her stuff into her dorm, along with the brooding boyfriend.  Jill and I met and I was telling her about Cru and talking about Jesus and she was eating ice cream and said, “Well, I’m Lutheran and I’m gonna stay that way.”  Well, good for you, Jill.  Jill is in fact on staff, has a kid, pours out her life and I’m not sure if she’s Lutheran or not, but she sure does love Jesus. 

Then there are moments like this:

These freshmen, four years later just might link arms and go after it for Jesus with all their hearts.  God will use YOU to teach them to be honest, to ask the hard questions, to love them in their mess, challenge them to think of others, teach them to share their faith, watch them begin to invest in others, see them give their future to a life of ministry no matter what the vocation, stand with them in their weddings, will hold their babies, and watch them continue to run.  To think that it all started with buying ice cream scoops for a social.  RUN HARD MY FRIENDS!! Running with you……….