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.    



Tuesday, June 21, 2016

June Update

Ever wonder what happens in the ministry of ROC during the summer? This month I am going to give you an inside look at all the things happening in and around the ministry during those months when the population of Athens decreases and the temperature rises!

Let’s begin with our students. ROC students have been on the move this month! Christina Hemsath spoke to the VBS crowd at the Athens Church of Christ on Monday, June 13 about ROC. Christina shared about ROC’s ministry and led the students in a brief time of worship. I was blessed to hear that she even had the opportunity to share with the students about the significance of baptism when several of them asked her about a picture that showed a baptism we performed last year!

Jessica (left) and the group from Team
Expansion before leaving for the
mission field.
Courtney Clark and Aerin Hemsath are working at Ohio Valley Christian Camp this week as Camp Counselors for Junior High week of camp. I stopped out by the camp today to visit them and hear about how their week had been going. Matt Shiflet was asked to preach on Sunday, June 12 at Tabor Ridge Church of Christ (about 45 minutes from Athens). Finally, Darrin Will is joining me this evening (June 14) as I present at Athens Church of Christ’s VBS program about ROC.

Additionally, many of you are already aware that ROC’s very own Jessica Brantmeier is currently serving overseas as a missionary for two months this summer with a missions organization called Team Expansion, based out of Louisville, KY. We were blessed to have Jessica Skype into “Mission Time” at Senior High camp to share with the campers about what she is doing on the mission field and how her time with ROC has helped to prepare her for the field.

Several ROC students, and ROC undergrad volunteer Cara Lawless, will be joining me and about 25 other people from several different churches on the mission field in New Orleans July 23rd – 31st. This will be the second year in a row that ROC students have joined with the group heading to NOLA to work with Crossroads Missions doing outreach, evangelism, and some manual labor.

ROC’s Grad and Young Professionals group took a brief break after the end of Spring Semester and are now meeting each Thursday under the leadership of ROC volunteers Jeremy and Sally Hatfield. Did you know that ROC’s Grad group is the only one of its kind at OU? We are pretty proud of that, and are excited to see all the hard work that the Hatfields have invested in the group paying off in the form of new faces, deepening relationships, and growing energy within the group.

Dodger's OVCA Adventure Campers
at Carter Caves in Kentucky
It has really been a blessing for me to be able to see the way so many of our students and volunteers have used this summer as an opportunity to participate in building up the kingdom in so many different ways. I have to admit that when I first began my time with ROC, I didn’t fully realize the scope of what investing our resources into the lives of college students could mean to the kingdom of God. Obviously there is the difference that it makes in the lives of each student that we minister to, but now looking at the multiplying effect that this investment has when these same students go out to invest in others really has me excited.

As people who participate in this investment, let me simply say “thank you.” I am continually humbled and amazed at your faithfulness to helping us provide these types of experiences for students, and in turn helping us propel those same students to invest in the lives of others! How cool is it that God allows us to be a part of such an amazing process? Thank you for your role in that.