A question I hear a lot from friends and supporters of the ministry of ROC is “what happens in the ROC community during the summer?” This is actually an excellent question as the pace of life in Athens and the university definitely slows down after commencement. In addition to the shorter lines at Chipotle, additional parking, and much quieter streets, summer certainly has some distinct advantages for the ministry. Here are some ways we try to take advantage of summer.
First, summer is a great time to connect with incoming students. Each June ROC is busy working Bobcat Student Orientation in order to be some of the first people to welcome students to Ohio University. During this process we get to meet new students and their families as well as begin collecting contact information that our ROC leaders will later use to reach out to students as they begin to arrive on campus.
In the same way summer is a convenient time to follow up on connections that our supporting churches facilitate. We love opportunities to meet students and families long before move-in. Our churches play a key role in helping us to identify and connect with incoming freshmen. So if you have a student coming our way, let us know. We spend lots of time in coffee houses and pizza places meeting new faces.
In addition to the connections that happen here on campus, we also mobilize to connect with students and churches. As I write this update I am preparing for a week of camp at OVCA where several of our ROC student leaders will be assisting me in working with senior high students. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to first connect with our ministry. ROC’s ongoing commitment to camps, conventions like Ohio Teens for Christ, and high school retreats has been very beneficial to us in inviting new students into the ministry each fall.
Another way we mobilize during the summer is through mission / service work. One key value that we have for missions at ROC is to be able to serve alongside multi-generational teams. We strongly desire for our ROC students to serve alongside people of all ages and backgrounds. Although this can be difficult to accomplish in the winter and spring for those not on the OU academic calendar, summer is a fantastic time to do just that. This July ROC students will be assisting me in leading a group that spans from teenagers to older adults back to New Orleans to serve.
Speaking of mobility, ROC students are certainly on the go! One thing that makes my heart soar is seeing students embrace opportunities to serve the Kingdom. As I’ve mentioned in previous updates we have several students who have committed their summer to serving in different ministries from Idaho to New Orleans. As amazing as this is, the reach of the ROC community is far broader than even this. Many of our students who are out on internships and other full time non-ministry jobs are making an impact in the areas where they are laboring. I am equally as proud of the students who are embracing their role as a “missionary” to the jobs they are holding this summer.
|Dodger with ROC Students and|
former campers that served as faculty
during high school week of camp.
So as you can see, while it might appear that summer is “down-time” for ROC, in many ways summer lays an important foundation for the things that will be happening in Athens this fall. While the ROC staff and leaders certainly take advantage of times to invest in their families and rest during the summer, the ministry of ROC continues. With that in mind we want to say “thank you” to all those who pray for and support our community through these all important summer months. Your faithfulness to our students and the ministry of ROC never ceases to both humble and amaze me.