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.



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.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

August Update

Although we’ve been planning and working toward our students’ return since Spring Semester ended, the reality that it’s about to happen has finally just hit me. In a little less than a week from the time I write this, students from all over the country (and even the world) will descend upon the campus of Ohio University. The first couple days will be a fury of moving boxes, traffic jams, meetings, and social mixers. Would you please join us in praying that students are able to connect with ROC in the midst of all the other things happening during this busy time?

New Orleans Mission Team
Speaking of connecting with students, I am really excited to be a part of ROC’s annual cookie outreach. It’s amazing how excited people get to receive a gift like homemade cookies (something familiar) during a process like move-in (something unfamiliar). We appreciate ROC’s many supporters who undertake this labor of love, which in turn allows us to show the love of Christ in practical ways and make meaningful connections with students as they arrive on campus. It’s amazing how many of our students’ “ROC Stories” begin with, “I first heard about ROC during move-in when someone offered me some cookies.” Thank you so much for your role in this incredible ministry.

As a new semester gets ready to kick-off, we are looking forward to another year of Crosswalk (our larger community worship and teaching time), small group Bible studies, social events, church visits, ROC lunches, and much more. These regular events are really the building blocks for our community and help propel us into some of our larger special events.

Speaking of special events, there are several that I am really excited about that I would ask you to join us in praying for. The first on the calendar is our fall retreat. This year fall retreat is scheduled for the weekend of September 23-25th. Last year’s retreat was fantastic, and really made an impact in the lives of the students who attended.

The second event is new for 2016. This is our “Student Ministry Summit.” This year ROC is reaching OUt to our local student ministries and inviting them to participate in a workshop designed to encourage and equip students in our local churches. This year’s theme will center around “Disciple Making” with ROC students leading the teaching times and small group discussions. Additionally, Kentucky Christian’s traveling praise team “Elevate” will join us for the afternoon and lead the entire group in worship! (If you know of a youth group or church that you’d like us to share this information with, please let us know!) 

Posing with part of the 2016 NOLA Team
The last special event that I’d like you to be in prayer about is our winter service trip. This winter break a team of ROC students will be joining with some adults and high school students from local churches and spending a week in the Dominican Republic serving, evangelizing, and growing together on the mission field. There is always so much that has to come together for a trip of this nature, so we are asking for our friends and ministry partners to join us in praying for God to pull together all the details and to move in mighty ways both in our group and in the D.R.

We are incredibly excited about all of these opportunities! But we are even more excited to know that we have people like you who through prayer, encouragement, and financial support make these types of events, and the ministry of ROC possible. I really wish I could find a way to adequately describe to you the eternal impact that your partnership is making in the lives of students. Maybe one day you can join us for Crosswalk, a mission trip, or even Year End Bash and see (if just in part) this for yourself. Until that time, just know that I am eternally grateful for each and every one of you.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

July Update

It’s past the midway point of the summer (at least for us). We’ve had a blast meeting the class of 2020 at Freshman orientation and are eagerly anticipating their arrival in August. Through our involvement in the orientation process we’ve gathered together a list of a couple hundred contacts and have already begun to “Reach Out” to them. Speaking of reaching out, if you know of any students arriving in Athens this fall, don’t hesitate to let us know, we would love to meet up with them and invite them to be a part of the community of faith at ROC.

ROC’s mid-summer reconnect is a chance for students to fellowship with one another during the summer months when most of the ROC community is away from Athens. This year Reconnect is scheduled for July 9th and looks to be a great time to see people that we’ve missed so much the past couple months.

Incoming ROC Freshman
Dava Clark and her mom Tami
at Adventure Camp.
June was a busy month full of church visits, VBS, and church camp. One of my favorite times from this past month was preaching at OVCA’s Middler Camp in the evenings. This is always such a fun group to share with as it gives me the opportunity to be creative in sharing the message. We talked about super heroes, flew paper airplanes, and set a world record (at least in my mind) for the longest distance game of “Simon Says.” All of this and we still tied the activity back into a spiritual truth!

As I mentioned last month, I’m eagerly anticipating our summer mission trip to New Orleans, Louisiana. I love getting to see our ROC students fellowship with and serve alongside a multi-generational mission team. Would you consider adding our students, and the rest of the mission team, to your list of prayer concerns? Prayer is absolutely essential to the success of any trip of this nature as it is to the ministry of ROC. That is why we so appreciate our many prayer partners who fervently pray for our staff and students.

Finally, I just want to mention that for the “Mission Spotlight” this month, we are following up with ROC Student Org president Jessica Brantmeier. You may recall that we did a spotlight on Jessica for our February Update where she shared her plans to serve on the mission field this summer in Eastern Europe. She is now just over halfway through her two-month long internship there with Team Expansion, and is writing to share with us how things are going.

As always we appreciate you and the rest of our ministry partners so much! Thanks for the vital role you play in advancing the kingdom.