|ROC Fall Retreat Group at New River Gorge|
As I write these words I find myself wondering how it can already be the halfway point of the semester. It seems like just last week the students were moving in, welcome activities were happening almost around the clock, and we were giving directions to different buildings on campus. But the change in temperature and the leaves beginning to fall from the trees reminds me that we are in fact moving quickly through another semester.
If the weather cues weren’t enough of a reminder, ROC’s fall retreat definitely was. Speaking of which, this year’s fall retreat was absolutely amazing! Not only did we have the spectacular backdrop of the New River Gorge as the setting for the retreat (which, by the way, if you’ve never done worship on a mountain top overlooking creation, it is a fantastic way to connect with God) but God really “showed up” during the weekend in ways that I don’t believe any of us had anticipated. Our students came back refreshed and renewed in their mission to Reach OU’s campus with the message of Jesus Christ.
Speaking of ROC students let me mention a couple things that I am excited about. While ROC has always been student led and run, I am really impressed with the way our leaders are stepping up within the community. First, several of our leaders will be facilitating a “Discipleship Workshop” in October. This was a workshop that ROC staff led last year, and students were so encouraged by it they wanted to offer it again this year and lead it themselves. Secondly, this past week two of our undergrads offered to teach during Crosswalk since I was going to be out of town that day. They not only did a phenomenal job, they really opened the door for other students who have since expressed the desire to teach. Finally, one of our students will be preaching at a ROC Church visit coming up in a few weeks! I’m really amazed at the way our students are stepping up to allow themselves to be used by God.
As I consider all these things, a verse that we used as the basis for our leadership agreement keeps coming to mind. 1 Timothy 4:10-13 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.
While verse 12 has been the theme Scripture for just about every youth event I’ve ever attended, I think we often miss that in setting “an example” young people are called to action rather than to simply adopt church etiquette. The verses that precede verse 12 talk about laboring, striving, commanding, and teaching. Verse 13 instructs devotion to the scriptures, preaching, and again teaching. Sometimes I think that we pass up golden opportunities to call young people to labor, teach, and preach. In doing so I fear that we not only rob them of the opportunity to do what God has called them to do, but also rob ourselves of the encouragement, inspiration, and passion that comes from their example.
I love that within the campus ministry I am blessed to be able to witness the fullness of 1 Timothy 4:10-13 played out within our community every day. I pray that this process continues to happen each and every year that God chooses to use ROC on OU’s campus. Thank you to each of you who play an integral role in supporting our students and providing them with the opportunity to serve, labor, preach, and teach.