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.

Blessings,

-Dodger

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,


-Dodger

Thursday, February 11, 2016

It’s a snowy day in Athens and the university even cancelled morning classes. Hopefully this allows our students to catch up on some much needed sleep after an amazing weekend. ROC kicked-off the weekend with a lock-in at the Athens Church of Christ. While I bowed out gracefully at midnight, some of those crazy students (and a mildly disturbed adult volunteer) stayed awake all night playing games, laughing, and having a fantastic time.

We returned to ACC just a little over 24 hours later for a Church visit where we shared about all the exciting things God is doing in and through the ministry. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and are always warmly welcomed by the folks at ACC.

Later that evening ROC held our annual Super Bowl party at the home of Chuck and Shirley Higgins from ACC. The Higgins’ have been holding this party for us for many years now and are such terrific hosts. We are so richly blessed by so many folks like Chuck and Shirley who go out of their way to show hospitality and love to our students. I am always blown away by how terrific our supporters are to us.

Last week also kicked off our Discovery Workshop. Discovery is our “new believer” workshop, and is also the foundation for leadership training, which will happen later in the semester. We had 4 students the first week, and I’m looking forward to spending the next 5 weeks of the workshop with them.

Speaking of ROC Leadership, I am excited for our Leadership Retreat that is planned for the weekend of February 20th. I will be taking our current student leaders for a day of team building, fellowship, and learning. Please join me in praying that God would richly bless the investment we are making in the leaders.

As I look over all of the events coming up in the ministry, as well as all the things we’ve already done, I can’t help but get excited when I see God blessing our efforts. Each of these activities has propelled us toward one of our three core values. “Belonging to Christ and One Another, Becoming More Like Christ, and Being Sent to Love Serve and Disciple.” Sometimes it’s difficult to see the “fruit” of our efforts, but I feel like God has blessed us to be able to see some tangible results this year. New faces within the ministry, students getting plugged into the ministry and using their gifts to serve, seeing lives changed by the Gospel; these are just a few.

Another exciting “fruit” is seeing students choosing to allow God to send them. It seems like this year there is a much greater interest within the community to “Be Sent to Love, Serve, and Disciple.” We recently returned from the Mountain Mission School in Grundy, VA where our students worked on projects at the school, helped teach and serve in the classroom, and minister to students through a variety of activities including dramas and worship.

One such student who has heard God’s call and has responded “here am I Lord, send me” is our very own Jessica Brantmeier. Jess was challenged by a message at Crosswalk in reaching the unreached by Al Hartson from Team Expansion. She prayed about the opportunity and chose to apply for Team Expansion’s Pathways Internship and was accepted. You can hear more about her story and her passion for missions in the “Mission Spotlight” attached.

As always, none of this would be possible without your faithfulness to the ministry. If I can be a blessing to you or your congregation by coming and sharing about what God has done through the ministry, please do not hesitate to contact me.

In the love of Christ,

-Dodger

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

January Update

I am writing to you from the first day of a new year! Last night the Vaughan family celebrated another year of God’s blessings and faithfulness along with friends and loved ones. As always, I never cease to be amazed at how good God is! We are also incredibly thankful to all of you who have faithfully supported the ministry of Reach Out on Campus this past year.

As I look forward to a new year of ministry on the campus of Ohio University and another year of leading the ministry of ROC, I am reminded of how important new beginnings can be. For followers of Christ, new beginnings are a part of our identity. 2 Corinthians 5:17&18 describe it like this.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:”
ROC Students at the Mountain
Mission School in Grundy, VA

ROC holds among its core values the desire to join other believers in this “ministry of reconciliation.” As the world gathers together to celebrate the start of a new year and looks forward to the new beginnings that a new year brings, I am reminded of the importance of this mission that we all share. I believe that this desire for a new beginning has been hardwired into our spiritual DNA. Our souls long to be renewed and reunited with our creator. This makes our mission to point people to the cross and invite them to join us in this “ministry of reconciliation” that much more important.

Call me a little biased, but I believe that our college campuses happen to be a field ripened for this message of a new beginning. Furthermore, including our college students in this “ministry of reconciliation” is the only way that sweeping revival will ever happen in our nation. (All prior religious awakenings have begun with young people.) This is why the staff and volunteers at ROC believe that God has given us an incredible opportunity at Ohio University.

I promise, we were stopped and the van
was in park! 
As the beginning of a new semester approaches, I am excited about all the opportunities that God has blessed ROC with. As you read this, a group of students will be joining me in a winter service trip at the Mountain Mission School in Grundy, VA. Shortly after we return, we will be kicking off a new semester of Crosswalk, Bible Studies, Discovery Workshop (New Believer workshop), and Leadership Training. Another highlight of second semester is ROC’s Winter Retreat with our friends from SCF at Ohio State and ACT at Bowling Green and University of Toledo.

The student leaders have filled the calendar with lots of great events for the new semester. As supporters of ROC, I would encourage you to join us in praying that these events not only go well, but more importantly, that God would be glorified and people would come to know Him through our efforts. At the end of the day, that’s what we strive towards always.

As I mentioned from the beginning, we are so thankful for you and your faithful support. We pray that this new year would be a year filled with God’s blessings for our supporters. Thank you for partnering with us in ministry.


In the love of Christ,

-Dodger

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December 2015 Update

I recently returned from a gathering of student and young adult ministers in Louisville, Kentucky. Each year the National Youth Workers Convention plays host to youth leaders from all over the United States and even around the world. It’s amazing to see so many people gathered for a common purpose and with a common passion; seeing students grow in their relationship with Christ.

ROC Students serving at Lifeline Christian Mission
Some of the big questions that have been raised in and around the convention the past several years have centered around why churches are failing to connect with Millennials. There is no shortage of research, books, and articles about this problem ranging from why this is to what to do about it. But the problem still remains; we are losing the battle for the hearts and minds of an entire generation.

Personally I don’t believe that the solution to the problem lies in programs or strategies for looking more appealing to Millenials as much as it lies in some key spiritual truths. These are things that Jesus taught and demonstrated throughout the course of his earthly ministry.

Matthew 9:35-38 records the following; Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

One of the things that really stand out to me in this passage is that Jesus is moved to compassion for the crowds. Compassion is powerful because it often moves us to action. My guess is that if you are reading this then you care deeply about students and that’s why you have chosen to partner with ROC. Our churches need to continue to be motivated to act out of compassion for the lost of this generation.

Because of His compassion, in verse 38 Jesus instructs the disciples to “Ask the Lord of the harvest.” Prayer is such a powerful, yet often underutilized tool, in reaching students. That is why the ROC Staff, volunteers, and student leaders covet your prayers. We believe that current trends will only be reversed through the power of prayer. For this reason we would ask that you continue to remember us as well as the unreached on campus in your prayers.

But Jesus doesn’t stop there. He tells the disciples to “Ask the Lord of the harvest… to send out workers into the harvest field.” Romans 10:14-15 puts it this way “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” As I’ve said many times before, I believe that God has placed us in a specific place at a specific time for this very reason. God has blessed us at ROC with an incredible opportunity to go into a field ripened for harvest. Your continued prayers and support allow for us to be sent onto this campus. Additionally please pray that God would send out more workers in places where they are most needed.

I don’t believe that this generation, or any for that matter, is too far beyond the reach of God. I see great promise in the students at ROC, and I am encouraged daily in seeing the ways that God works in and through them. Thank you for the vital role that you play in this process.

So from the staff, students, and volunteers at Reach Out on Campus we would like to wish you the very best this Christmas season. We pray that your holidays would be filled with joy and peace as we remember the humble way that our Lord and Savior entered into the world.

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas,

-Dodger