In campuses across the nation, students have returned to class in some form. Some are in person, some are hybrid, and many are fully online as universities continue to make adjustments. As the fall classes begin in earnest, we are reminded that God has been faithful this past year, is faithful today, and will be faithful this coming year.
This past July, the Mid-Atlantic staff was able to meet (mostly) in person for a staff retreat. It was a wonderful time to reconnect, encourage one another, and strategize for the fall semester. Oliver Pierce, Campus Minister at Indiana University of PA reflects, “Besides the encouraging fellowship and stimulating discussions, one of my favorite moments from our retreat was when David led us in a Bible study session in Romans 8. Modeling good Bible study facilitation, David only asked a few strategic questions and let us campus ministers wrestle with the text together. Many weeks later, I am still meditating on some of the realizations from that brief study. It was moment of being reminded of how important our work of leading small group bible studies is on campus and training leaders to be able do the same. God is at work in those discussions.”
For Joey Barnet, ministry at University of Delaware began with a move from Tennessee!
“I am grateful to announce that we have officially moved to Newark, DE! … University of Delaware has announced that the grand majority of courses will be held online. There will be very few students on campus, with some not returning at all to the Newark area.
Of course, not being able to meet in person on campus is not ideal, but I am thankful for all of the technological advances that we have made in recent years that allow us to still minister well to students. Zoom allows us to have real-time large group and small group Bible studies, and there are also plenty of games that can be played over the platform. We have even utilized Zoom to help produce a welcome video to the new freshman on campus. For the students that are in the area, I have been able to meet with some of them for one-on-ones utilizing social distancing protocols.
During this time, I am constantly reminded of God’s unchanging character and love for us. Many things are in flux right now, constantly changing every minute, day, and hour. But the true God that we worship does not change (Malachi 3:6). In God, there is no variation or shadow due to change (James 1:17). The pandemic has certainly brought about many questions and uncertainties, but I continue to try to point students (and myself) towards the God who does not change, the God that gives us eternal life in Christ.
I appreciate all of your prayers and support for us. Please continue to pray for RUF at UD: pray that even amidst the pandemic, that students will look to Christ for their ultimate hope, and that students will experience growth in grace. I also ask prayers for our efforts in reaching freshman amidst an essentially all-online semester; we will be leaning a lot on social media such as Instagram in order to do this.”
Meanwhile, at Millersville, RUF intern Matt Dabiero is casting vision for student leadership as they seek to care for students during a period of transition in campus staff! He writes:
“As I gear up for the start of what will surely be a strange and challenging semester, I am excited about the ways I see God at work… While things are going to look very different this year, we are confident in the Lord’s provision for this ministry!
I want to take a few minutes to update you on the ministry and ask for prayer. Classes start[ed] on Monday, and although the vast majority of them will be online, we still have many students returning to campus. Please pray for their health and safety as school starts. We will be offering a variety of in-person and virtual ministry opportunities, but we are prepared to adapt to however the landscape changes. Pray that the Lord would give us wisdom and direction as we navigate uncharted waters and seek to love students in this context. Pray for the community of RUF, that friendships would be forged, newcomers would be welcomed, and students would hear the gospel of Christ. Pray for our outreach particularly, as we face unique obstacles in meeting new students. Lastly, pray for our student leaders as they take on more responsibility, that the Lord would equip them to serve and give them rest in Christ…”
Would you pray with us that God work mightily this fall in the lives of students through ministry, that He would refresh and inspire those ministering on our campuses, and that, above all, His name would be glorified through His people? God is at work!!