Monday, December 18, 2017

December Update

Merry Christmas from all of the staff, students and board members of Reach Out on Campus! We pray that your Christmas is filled with the blessings and awe of the Christmas season. 

As I write this letter our students are busy finishing up final projects and preparing for exams next week. It’s funny how sometimes it seems like the semester is creeping by and at other times like it is flying past at a dizzying pace. From November on it has definitely seemed like the latter here.

ROC Students Luke Fredricks,
Blayne Smith, and Jessica
Brantmeier with local high
school and middle school
students during ROC's
Student Ministry Day
One reason is that the past month been a busy one for ROC. Lots of church visits, outings, and events have made the time fly by. One such event was our annual student ministry day at OU. For the second year in a row we invited students from around the area to join us in a day of fellowship, worship, and teaching. This year we had students from 6 local churches / youth groups in attendance. It truly was a wonderful day. The best part was that it was 100% organized and led by our ROC Students. They really did a phenomenal job, and I couldn’t be more proud of them and their efforts.

One big “job” that our ROC Student leaders have each year is calendar planning. During the month of November our students sat down to plan out the direction of the ministry for spring semester. Every idea is ultimately tested against ROC’s 3 core values of “Belonging, Becoming, and Being Sent” before being placed on the calendar. As I’ve said before, the ROC community and calendar are ultimately a reflection of the students and what they are passionate about.

As we wrap up things here and prepare for a new year of ministry I am reminded of how faithful God has been. We’ve been so blessed and encouraged to see our community grow, both in numbers as well as in faith. We’ve been equally fortunate to begin new friendships with churches and individuals as well as maintain relationships with some of our long time supporters including our amazing ROC alumni! These relationships are the backbone of ROC and we are so grateful for them.

As we prepare for this Christmas I have been dwelling on John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” I pray that we never cease to be amazed by the fact that God put on flesh and made His dwelling amongst us in the most humble manner, in the form of a child. How amazing indeed!

Merry Christmas


Dodger

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

November Update

Happy Thanksgiving from the staff and students at Reach Out on Campus! As I write this update our students are busily finishing up last minute assignments and exams before they leave for Thanksgiving break. The semester really is flying past. When our students return from break we will be down to 2 weeks of classes and a week of finals.

As I reflect back upon the semester I am encouraged by the ways that God has been at work through our students. One example of this was our Halloween Hot Dog outreach event. Through your prayers and generosity our students gave out 1,000 hotdogs during the annual Block Party. That’s exciting to me because it means that 1,000 people heard, possibly some for the first time, that Jesus loves them. It was a simple and very practical expression of love, but for many people it was both unexpected and deeply appreciated.

ROC Students at the Hotdog Outreach
We deeply appreciate all who helped to make this event an overwhelming success. So many of you reached out to us to encourage us, pray for us, and even give to make the outreach happen. Additionally we were blessed by many who came to lend a hand in preparing the hot dogs as well as helping out on the front lines. What awesome supporters we have!

Another event that we are hosting is the Student Ministry Day on December 2nd. In case you haven’t already heard, in just a few short weeks we are inviting youth groups from the area to join us on campus for a day of worship, teaching, and fun. Everything is being planned and carried out by our ROC students in an effort to invest in local high school and middle school students. This will be our second year for this event and we are looking forward to welcoming some new groups as well as reconnecting with others!

What outreach would be complete
without a dancing hotdog?
Finally, I just wanted to share how excited we are about ROC’s winter break service trip. From January 7th to 11th we will be serving with the Mountain Mission School in Grundy, VA. We have a group of 15 that will be working in classrooms at the school, leading devotions and worship at Chapel, participating in work projects, and loving on kids in Jesus’ name. This is our second time serving with MMS and we are looking forward to continuing that relationship for years to come.

Developing and sustaining relationships with the mission fields we serve is one of our key strategic goals for missions at ROC. This is why you will see us continue to return to many of the same fields over and over again. Relational ministry is such an important component of what we do within ROC that it only makes sense that our missions program would be relational as well.


As we approach the end of another year at Ohio University we are reminded of how grateful we are for so many of you who help provide for the needs of the ministry. As always your faithfulness and generosity continue to humble and amaze us. Thank you for choosing to partner with us as we seek to glorify God at Ohio University and around the world!

Many Thanks,

-Dodger

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

October Update

ROC Students at Mill Creek Trail in
Ansted, WV during fall retreat.
It is a picturesque fall day in Athens! Many of our ROC alumni have fond memories of being in Athens during this time of year as the trees on campus start to change colors, the weather cools down, and signs of fall seem to be everywhere. It really is hard to beat autumn at OU!

One sure sign of fall (at least within the ROC community) is fall retreat. Each year the ROC staff and students get away for the weekend to connect with Christ and one another. This year was no exception as we made our way back to New River Gorge in Fayetteville, WV. This year’s fall retreat was exceptionally special for me. First, it was an awesome time of worship, learning, and bonding. Seriously, worship on top of a mountain cannot be beat. Second, it marked my 4th fall retreat with Reach Out on Campus. And finally, I got to celebrate my 40th birthday (ouch it hurts to even type that) with some of my favorite people. 

Fall retreat is one of the events that tend to solidify new students’ places within the community. While weekly meetings like Crosswalk, Bible Studies, and service events are all vital parts of ROC life, special events like retreats, mission trips, and even the occasional lock-in help students to find a deeper sense of belonging and community. I am incredibly thankful to be able to serve with an organization like ROC that sees the value in fostering spiritual growth through Christian community.

Speaking of the ROC community, I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have recently approached me asking about practical ways that they can serve and show love to students at OU. If you have wondered the same, here is your chance! This year will be ROC’s second annual Halloween Block Party outreach. The ROC community and friends will once again take to the streets to give out 1,000 hotdogs to students and partygoers. Our aim here is to simply reach out to people with a practical expression of love and to let them know that Jesus loves and cares about them. If you would like more information about how you can assist with this outreach, don’t hesitate to contact us at reachohio@gmail.com.


The beautiful New River Gorge!
Another event that I am very excited about is ROC’s Student Ministry Day at OU. It’s no surprise that after 9 years of ministry to high school and junior high students, I enjoy any opportunity I have to interact with them. Moreover, I love getting to see our ROC students invest in younger students as well. This year ROC’s Student Ministry Day will be held on Saturday afternoon December 2nd. We will have food, teaching, small groups, worship, and games, all in an effort to bless local students and student ministries. This year’s theme is “Letters to Live By” and will focus on some of the Apostle Paul’s writings to the church about how to live lives that please God and impact the world. This event is organized and led entirely by ROC students, and will certainly be an event that will encourage local youth groups and students. We will be sending out additional information and invitations soon, but feel free to contact us directly with any questions.

Guys, God is so good, and it’s abundantly evident as I watch Him work in the lives of students. I hope that the pictures and words that I share give you just a small glimpse of the impact that your prayers and support are making in the ROC community. Additionally, make sure you check out this month’s Student Spotlight feature to hear about the difference that the ROC community is making in the life of our friend Christina Hemsath. For a closer look I’d encourage you to come visit us and see for yourself. Seriously, the ROC door is open to you at any time. We’d love to have you join us.

Many Blessings,

-Dodger

Thursday, September 21, 2017

September Update

Let me begin this update with an expression of gratefulness for the many churches and individuals who supported ROC’s cookie outreach. Because of your generosity we were able to give out more than 1,400 bags of cookies during OU’s move-in weekend. That is incredible! It’s also the most cookies we’ve given away since I’ve been with ROC. This gave us the opportunity to have some great conversations, to make meaningful connections with new students, and to glorify Jesus by sharing a simple expression of love.  

ROC Students at the annual Cookie
Outreach during move-in weekend. 
I’ve shared before that I’m always amazed at how many of our students’ ROC stories begin with “I first heard of ROC when someone handed me a bag of cookies.” It’s such a simple, yet powerful, way to let people know that they are loved; and it’s one that I hope we continue for many years to come. In this month’s Student Update you will get to hear from Blayne. Blayne’s ROC story begins with a bag of cookies as well. I hope that you are encouraged in hearing how God is blessing this outreach!

As excited as I am about how well the cookie outreach went, I am even more excited to be a part of a community where outreach isn’t just something we do, but a part of who we are. It’s amazing to me to see students reaching out to other students and inviting them into community and encouraging them to grow in their walk with Christ.

Speaking of outreach, one of the reasons I truly love fall semester is because of the many opportunities we have to invite our supporters to help us reach out to the community of Ohio University. Baking cookies is just the beginning! This year we have scheduled our second annual Halloween Block Party Outreach. Last year, because of your faithfulness and prayers, we were able to give away over 1,000 hotdogs during this event. We were blessed by so many who gave financially as well as numerous others who joined us that evening to serve on the front lines.

ROC's Bowling Party during week 1
With this in mind, we want to ask you for a couple things as we prepare for this year’s outreach. First, please join us in praying that God would bless this event. We know that a huge reason for the success of the cookie outreach centered on the many people, including supporters like you, who prayed over this outreach. Second, please consider joining us either in person to serve or sending a monetary gift to purchase hotdogs and supplies. In October we will be providing more details for those interested in joining us that evening. In the meantime should you have any questions about this outreach, please do not hesitate to contact us at (740) 592-1086 or reachohio@gmail.com.

One final thing we would love for you to join us in praying over and possibly helping us promote is ROC’s Student Ministry Day on campus. Last year we invited youth groups from our supporting churches and surrounding areas to join us for an afternoon of worship, teaching, small groups, and fun. This year the event is scheduled for Saturday December 2nd. We will be releasing more details about this event as the time draws closer. Encourage your church’s youth to join us!


Thank you for the integral role you play in the ministry of ROC. Our community is both blessed and strengthened by the support that you continue to show us.

In Christian Love,

-Dodger