Tuesday, February 14, 2017

February Update

ROC's Sibs Weekend Lock-In crew
It’s a chilly 25 degrees outside and the snow is falling. Welcome to spring semester at Ohio University. While I am not a fan of winter, I am definitely a fan spring semester and all the things that it brings with it. Our Winter Retreat is just a few short days away. We have a brand new group of leaders being trained to join the leadership team this fall. Also, our Spring Break Mission trip to New Orleans is only a few short weeks away.

We’ve had a busy month since returning to campus. We’ve been on the road visiting our friends at 5th Street Church of Christ, Bradford Church of Christ, and Caldwell Church of Christ. We are also looking forward to visiting Ripley Church of Christ this weekend.

The ROC crew also spent the weekend at Ohio Valley Christian Assembly in January teaching and leading during the Jr. / Sr. High Retreat. Our students facilitated small groups, led workshops, preached, and even participated in a panel discussion, all centering around the theme of guarding your heart (Proverbs 4:23). It was a terrific weekend, and certainly an encouragement to see our students bless the crowd there that weekend.

ROC's Winter Hike to Ash Cave
But it hasn’t been all work and no play. We kicked the semester off with a hike at Ash Cave in the Hocking Hills on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Most recently we held our annual SIBS Weekend lock-in at Athens Church of Christ. This event is an annual reminder of my age and how my body can no longer cope with staying up all night long. Fortunately after nearly a week I can say with relative certainty that I’ve nearly recovered. Hahaha. We were also blessed by the hospitality of Chuck and Shirley Higgins who hosted the ROC Super Bowl party once again this year.

Last night at Crosswalk we kicked off a new series on the difficult teachings of Jesus. We spent a good bit of time looking at John 6. In this chapter Jesus feeds the 5,000, and the next day many of them come searching for him again (hoping for another free meal). But instead Jesus tells them that unless they eat his flesh and drink his blood, that they have no part with him (vs. 53-59). At this point many of the disciples desert Jesus saying “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it.”

Over the course of the next few weeks we are going to be looking at many of Jesus’ more difficult teachings, and asking ourselves the question “Are we willing to trust that what Jesus says is truth even if we don’t understand or if it conflicts with something we already believe to be culturally true?” Sometimes we have a tendency to try to rationalize or minimize these difficult teachings, but I believe God actually wants us to wrestle with these teachings rather than avoid them.

ROC crew with a ton of
friends from Ripley Church
of Christ following our visit
My favorite part of the story however, comes when Jesus turns to the twelve and asks (vs. 67) “You do not want to leave too, do you?” To which Peter replies (vs. 68) “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Although the teaching was just as difficult for the 12 as it was for Jesus’ other followers, Peter communicates their trust in Jesus and their recognition of who He was. They were willing to live with the tension that came from the teaching because they recognized that truth was not impacted by their ability to understand or comprehend it. I’m praying that as we also wrestle with some of those difficult teachings over the course of the coming weeks that we are willing to live with that same tension because, like Peter, we understand that only Jesus has “the words of eternal life.”


Thank you for the role you play in the ministry of Reach Out on Campus. Because of your prayers and support we have the amazing opportunity to reach a generation of students with the message of the Gospel. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve our students and the Ohio University community.

In Christ,

-Dodger

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

January Update

ROC's Winter Break DR Mission
team in front of the "Sacred Heart
of Jesus" Cathedral in Moca, DR.
Well it’s been a chilly start to the semester, but we are so excited to get things rolling again. We believe that 2017 is going to be an amazing year within the ROC community and on the campus of Ohio University. It’s also been an exciting break for ROC for several reasons.

First, ROC’s Winter Break Mission trip to the Dominican Republic was amazing. Our group left Ohio December 30th and flew into the Dominican Republic late on the 31st. We actually rang in the New Year Dominican style, surrounded by our brothers and sisters in Christ from the church in Moca.

New Year’s day in the D.R. was rainy off and on, but our team still found time to squeeze in an afternoon of sports ministry, relationship building with our new friends, and even a quick
trip to the local grocery store for supplies for the week. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were filled with Vacation Bible School each morning, prayer walks in the afternoon, and church in the evening.

I was so impressed by my team on so many levels. First the love that they showed each and every day was truly a reflection of the love that God has for us, and was only matched by the love that we saw returned to us by the people of Moca. Our students far exceeded my expectations for their individual roles within VBS. Our crafts, sports ministry, and Bible times were excellent and well thought out. Additionally, Dava Clark, ROC’s worship leader led VBS and each church service in song. It was such a good week of bonding with our new friends in the D.R. that there were many tearful good-byes when it was time to leave. Nearly everyone we had met that week made us promise that we would return soon to share with them again.

Flying back into Atlanta was certainly a change of pace as we landed in what was being described as a “historical snow event.” This forced us to stop for the night in Kennesaw Georgia, but I think everyone was okay with a soft bed and a warm shower that night. All in all, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I am incredibly thankful for having had the opportunity to lead such a special team of people.
ROC Student Dava Clark
poses with some new friends
from Vacation Bible School

The other big news that happened over winter break was that we finalized plans for a ROC intern this semester. We first met Bobby Oakley through Crossroads Missions several years ago. Bobby has long since wanted to come and spend a semester serving in the ministry of ROC. I hope you’ll take the time to get to know Bobby more as we have featured him in this month’s Spotlight section of the Update. Additionally, Bobby will be joining us for many of our special events and church visits throughout the semester, so hopefully you’ll be able to meet him in person.

Once again, thank you for your role in expanding the kingdom of God on the campus of Ohio University and around the world! We are so thankful for partners like you who allow us to invest in the lives of students in real ways. Please know that we are praying for each one of you, as we know that you are also praying for us. If we can ever be a blessing to you in any way, please do not hesitate to ask.


In Christian Love,

-Dodger Vaughan

Monday, December 5, 2016

November Update


ROC Students serving at Lifeline Christian
Mission in Columbus, Ohio on Nov. 19
Well it’s almost time to wrap it up and put a bow on another semester! As I write this, our ROC students are finishing up their final assignments and papers while preparing for exams next week. To help with the stress of finals week we will be transforming the ROC house into the “Finals Survival Station.” All next week we will be providing food (healthy, hearty, and junk food depending on your choice) to help students successfully navigate their way through their finals.

We’ve had a great semester, and I am literally reeling in amazement at how good God is. One reason for the success of our semester is due to our excellent volunteers who pour their time and energy into our students. With that in mind, this month we have decided to give a little credit where it is due, and spotlight a couple of our volunteers; Annie Holbert and Cara Lawless. I continue to be impressed by these ladies and the impact that they are making in the lives of our students.

November 19th was ROC’s Day of Service. A group of our students traveled to Lifeline Christian Mission in Columbus and spent about half a day working in the warehouse. Our crew organized supplies, sorted through donations, and packed containers that will ultimately be shipped to missionaries and mission fields all around the world. This is the second year that we have served at Lifeline and have had such a great experience both times.

We were incredibly blessed to have some guests at Crosswalk over the course of the past month. First, we hosted our friends Donna and Al Hartson from Team Expansion in Louisville, KY. You may recall that Jessica Brantmeier served on the mission field in Bosnia last summer with Team Expansion. Al shared with our students about similar mission opportunities that centered around reaching unreached people groups with the Gospel of Christ. The following week another one of our ROC volunteers, Darren Jackson, shared with the community in my absence. Finally, my friend Matt Hayden from Tri-Village Christian Church in Pataskala came down to share with our students and participate in our Wednesday evening services.

As we finish another semester, I’d like to invite you to join the ROC students and staff in praying for a couple big events coming up. First we are a little less than 30 days from our departure date for the Dominican Republic. Please be praying for our team of 14 who will be spending a week serving there. We still have a few people trying to finish up their fundraising efforts, so prayers for support would be terrific! In addition we already have a group of 8-10 who have expressed interest in serving in New Orleans with Crossroads Missions over Spring Break 2017.

Sorting through donations
bound for foreign mission
fields while at Lifeline
Also, I would ask that you continue to lift up the campus of Ohio State University as they continue to deal with the fallout from the attack that happened on campus this week. ROC’s good friends and partners in campus ministry Student Christian Fellowship at Ohio State are all safe following the attack. My counterpart at SCF, Seth Aldridge shared the following on his Facebook page following the attack:  I'm thankful for the many who have asked about us. There are always questions and uncertainties after these things happen, and we welcome your prayers as we and our Ohio State community sort through those in our hearts and minds and with each other. May the grace and truth of Jesus continue to come together in and through us.”

Thank you for your support of the ministry of Reach Out on Campus and for your love and concern for our students. We so greatly appreciate your support in helping us in our mission to expand the Kingdom of God here on the campus of Ohio University.

In Christ,


-Dodger Vaughan

Thursday, November 3, 2016

October Update

It’s been an eventful October around the ROC Community. We’ve been on the road visiting churches this month, making the final push to get everyone fully funded for the Dominican Republic mission trip happening later this year, and hosting several outreach events. We’ve been incredibly blessed to see God at work in so many areas; I’d like to share a few of those with you.

ROC's Student Ministry Summit
First, on Saturday October 22nd ROC hosted our first annual Student Ministry Summit. We had a little over 50 people in attendance, as well as students and youth leaders from 5 different churches. Our students organized and led all elements of the day including games, teaching, and small group times.  They did a phenomenal job. We were also blessed to have Kentucky Christian University’s praise team Elevate lead us in worship throughout the day. The best part however, came later in the week when a youth leader let me know that one of his students chose to accept Christ and be baptized, and that her experience with the event was part of her motivation!

ROC's Halloween Hotdog Outreach
This past weekend was Athens’ annual Halloween Block Party. This year our students decided that they wanted to engage the community during this event and share Christ through a hotdog outreach. I am so incredibly thankful for the many churches and friends of the ministry of ROC who contributed financially to help us purchase and give away 1,000 hotdogs that night. I am also indebted to the volunteers from Athens Church of Christ, Middleport Church of Christ, and Ripley Church of Christ who showed up to help us work the event! Many of whom stayed past 2am to make sure all hotdogs were given out and that things were cleaned up.

I wanted to pause here and explain why I am so excited that 1,000 people received a free hotdog. To me, this is more than just a free hotdog. Because of your generosity and the hard work of some friends and students, 1,000 people received something to eat and hopefully got home safe that night as a result. Even more importantly, 1,000 people were able to both hear and read that they were being given free hotdogs because Jesus loves them. Sure it might have gone unnoticed or even unappreciated by some, but I know for some it was also very appreciated and unexpected. For others, it was maybe the first time that they had ever heard the name Jesus or heard that He loves them.

ROC sisters Dava and Courtney Clark
were recently featured in the Marietta
Times regarding the Winter Dominican
Republic ServiceTrip
But none of what we do here would be possible without folks like you; people who regularly pray for us, encourage us, and provide the financial support for the ministry of Reach Out on Campus. We are so incredibly blessed by you.

As we close out another year of ministry, I can honestly say that God has provided for the needs of the community in ways that I could never have imagined. For our part we strive to be the best stewards of the money entrusted to us. With current giving trends however, we are projecting a budget deficit, and as such are praying for people to step up to bridge this gap by making a year-end donation to ROC. If you would prayerfully consider helping us out by making a donation to allow us to continue to reach out in ways similar to those described above, we would greatly appreciate your support.Many Blessings,


-Dodger

Thursday, September 15, 2016

September Update

ROC students Courtney Clark and
Gionna Russo handing out cookies
during OU's move-in weekend.
Now that the craziness that typically surrounds move-in and the first week of the semester has died down, ROC students and staff have settled into a somewhat normal rhythm of life. The Cookie outreach this year was wildly successful. We handed out around 1,000 packages of homemade cookies to students during move-in and met countless new people. Funny enough, one of the larger sororities on campus made the cookie table part of a scavenger hunt they were hosting so we became a popular stop that day! A HUGE “Thanks” goes out to all who helped with the outreach in any way, including baking cookies and of course praying for meaningful connections to be made.

As I think about all the events we have the opportunity to do on campus, I think that outreach is certainly one of the more exciting ones. It’s a chance for us to find practical ways to share the love of Christ with people and engage students in conversations about faith. With a name like “Reach Out on Campus” I think there are some pretty high expectations that we do just that!

Speaking of reaching out, I am really excited about a unique opportunity that we have been presented with. As you are likely aware, one of the things that OU is well known for is the annual Halloween Block Party. This year the student leaders and ROC staff are planning an outreach during the event. Our goal is to hand out 1,000 hot dogs during the evening at the campus gate. We want to be very clear that this outreach is not to support or encourage the block party or drinking, but rather to engage people where they are, have some conversations about faith, and help people get home safely by giving them something to fill their stomachs. But most exciting of all, we want to invite you to be a part of this outreach. We are including details on how you can support the outreach (either by donating supplies, helping cook that evening, handing out hotdogs at the gate, or all three). We’d like to see this become an annual outreach event that includes our ministry partners like you!

As I wrap things up, let me just remind you of a couple of other activities that you can join us in praying for. First, ROC’s annual fall retreat is coming up September 23-25th at the New River Gorge area. Last year’s retreat was awesome and really set a solid foundation for everything else that happened in the community the remainder of the year. Secondly, ROC’s first annual Student Ministry Summit is coming up on Saturday afternoon October 22nd at OU’s Baker Center. We have an awesome afternoon planned for our local middle and high school students, so load up a church bus and make plans to join us for a memorable day with the ROC community.

Blessings,


-Dodger

Ephesians 4:11-13  So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.