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.



Thursday, May 12, 2016

May Update

ROC Students at a Church visit this Spring

Another year is in the books! We’ve said our good-bye’s to most of the ROC community for the summer and watched our seniors pack-up and leave for careers and the next phase of life. What a crazy, exciting, and amazing ministry to be a part of. We are constantly meeting new people, welcoming new members into the community, and before you know it, watching them go out into the world equipped with the Gospel of Christ.

The amazing thing for me to see however, are the bonds that are formed in the short period of time that students are part of the ROC community. From my vantage point, these bonds formed through Christ are really what make this place special. The hours spent alongside one another in worship, learning, and service add up to much more than just weeks and months, they add up to memories, spiritual growth, and life change. God blesses us in amazing ways through the community here.

As people who love community, ROC certainly didn’t miss a single opportunity to fellowship together as the year came to a close. Whether it was fellowshipping with one another at year-end bash, with our alumni and donors at a dinner in their honor, or with our friends from Student Christian Fellowship at Ohio State, we’ve certainly invested in relationships the past month.

If you think that life around the ROC community slows down now, you’re mistaken! We are eagerly anticipating meeting the class of 2020 this summer as they arrive on Campus in June for Bobcat Student Orientation. This is our first opportunity to “reach out” to incoming Freshmen and their parents. Additionally ROC students will be joining me once again this summer on the mission field in New Orleans as we continue serving with our friends in ministry at Crossroads missions. Add to the mix some church visits, a few church camps, and a fundraising road trip or two and summer is going to fly by!

ROC Year End Bash crew
I’m really excited about a couple opportunities for ROC in particular this summer. First, Ohio Valley Christian Assembly has made ROC the mission for high school week of church camp. I’ll be leading a week of adventure camp at the same time so I’ll be taking occasions to share with the OVCA campers about the values and ministry of ROC. Along those same lines Athens Church of Christ has also selected ROC to be the mission of the week for Vacation Bible School. I’ll be spending evenings at ACC sharing videos and stories from the ROC community with this amazing crew. I am so honored that both groups have chosen to partner with ROC in the ministry that God has blessed us with.

As we gear up for another year of ministry on the campus of OU, may I ask that you join us in praying for ROC, ROC Students, and the campus of Ohio University? Our goal for this coming year is to really invest in community building. Community has always been ROC’s strong suit, and we believe, as I mentioned before, that it is vital to spiritual growth, discipleship, and kingdom building. This coming year we really want to prune away things that aren’t helping us to become the kind of community where people meet Jesus and are forever changed. If you could join us in praying for clarity, focus, and perseverance in this mission, we would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you for choosing to partner with us as we seek to expand the kingdom by meeting people where they are and introducing them to Christ. 



Colossians 4:2-6 “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should. Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”

Thursday, April 14, 2016

April Update

ROC Hotdog Outreach Crew (who
does the kid in front belong to?)
While another academic year is wrapping up, as expected the pace of life around the ROC community has sped up and shows no signs of slowing down until after finals. In many ways I can’t believe that we are already looking at the end of another year, but as I think back over all the activities, events, and trips that have happened in the community this year I can’t help but feel incredibly blessed.

God has blessed us with an incredible opportunity to spend the year with an amazing group of students. We are going to be saying “good-bye” to some special seniors, but we are also eagerly awaiting a new group of freshman who will be arriving in the fall.

This month we wrapped up our Discovery workshop (New Believer class) and started leadership training with a new group of leaders. Fall planning is also underway, and we are preparing for Bobcat Student Orientation that will begin in June (this is our first chance to reach out to the incoming class of freshmen).

The Glouster Church of Christ has also featured ROC as the mission spotlight for their annual Faith Promise Rally. I had an incredible day with the folks at GCC yesterday sharing with them and preaching through the Gospel being “Unleashed” (Romans 1:16-17). Additionally a group of students from ROC was present during the Sunday School hour to talk about ROC’s ministry and values. I’m really looking forward to the next two evenings as I continue to share about ROC’s ministry and how we see the power of the Gospel “unleashed” in the lives of our students.

I could never adequately put into words just how thankful we are for the many prayers, words of encouragement, and financial partnerships from our many supporters that have so faithfully provided for the needs of the community for many years. While it is just a small token of our appreciation for you, we would love to invite you to be our guest for an evening of appreciation. On Saturday evening April 23rd at 5pm, we are holding our second annual Alumni and Donor Appreciation dinner. This is merely one opportunity for us to show you how much we appreciate you, while also allowing you to meet some of our current ROC students, and to see and hear about all the amazing things God has done in the community over the course of the past year. If you would be interested in joining us, would you please RSVP to either Jean or myself at 740-592-1086?

ROC Worship Team leading
the community in praise
In Philippians 1, Paul writes to the church at Philippi to tell them how thankful he is for their faithful partnership in the ministry. In verses 3-6 Paul writes the following: “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” The ROC staff, student leaders, and community certainly echo Paul’s words. We are so thankful for each of you who make the ministry of ROC possible. This is the reason that we also “pray with joy” when we remember you.

Finally, I wanted to mention in closing that I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to visit with you or your church in person over the course of the summer. If you are looking for someone to come and present about the mission of ROC, fill the pulpit on a Sunday, or simply sit down for a meal to talk about the vision of the ministry, please do not hesitate to contact me.



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

March 2016 Update

It’s the first full week of March in Athens, which means a couple things for us here at ROC. First it means that we have all returned from Spring Break and a fantastic Service Trip (more on that later). Secondly it means that we are now over halfway through another semester and effectively ¾ of the way through another academic year. Finally it means a dizzying pace of life through the end of the semester! (I am very thankful for God’s gift of caffeine inside that little cacao bean.)

ROC Winter Retreat Group
We’ve certainly been busy since last month’s update. In the past month we’ve enjoyed an amazing winter retreat with our sister ministries at Ohio State, Bowling Green, and University of Toledo. This was held at Lake James Christian Assembly in Angola, Indiana and was a fantastic weekend for our group.

The following weekend was the ROC leadership retreat. We took our student leaders to Columbus to participate in an “Escape the Room” challenge. Escape the room was recently voted one of the top corporate team builders in the nation. It certainly was a great experience for our team and generated lots of great conversations about leadership within the community.

Finally last week was ROC’s Spring Break Service Trip. We had a group of 13 serving at the Latrobe Street Mission in Parkersburg, WV from Wednesday through Sunday. Our students loaded donations, sorted donations, cleaned, organized, worked in the thrift shop, and even changed oil in the Mission’s van, and had a great time doing it. The folks at Latrobe Street were fantastic to work with and were genuinely appreciative of all of our efforts.  

It has been a great year so far and I can’t wait to see how God uses the rest of this semester. The ROC community is looking forward to several things over the coming weeks. First our students will be leading a workshop at Ohio Teens for Christ and talking to high school students about Campus Ministry. ROC will also be the mission spotlight for Glouster Church of Christ’s Faith Promise Rally in April. I’m really excited to be speaking each evening of the rally, and appreciate Glouster’s partnership in ministry with ROC.

Finally, before we close out the semester we are calling on all of our alumni and ROC supporters to come to the ROC Alumni and Donor Appreciation dinner on April 23rd at 5pm at the Athens Church of Christ. We began this tradition last year as a way to connect those who support and pray for our ministry with our current students. It’s a terrific way to hear first hand about the ministry of ROC and the difference it is making in the lives of our students. Please make plans to join us. You can RSVP to reachohio@gmail.com with a number of people who will be attending the dinner.

It’s crazy to think that I am writing to you about end of the year events, but our time with another generation of students is drawing close to an end. We have been so incredibly blessed by the class of 2016 and look forward to seeing how God will use them in the future. As ROC supporters I’m asking for you to join me in praying for our students who will be leaving us at the end of the semester. For me, this is such a bittersweet time, as I will miss each and every one of them, yet I know that God has great things planned for them as well.
ROC's Spring Break Service Trip
Team at Latrobe Street Mission

Thank you all for your support and care for our students and the ROC community. You’re ongoing prayers and support allow us to continue to form and develop relationships where Christ is exalted.

Many Blessings,